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African American Business District (Danville, KY)
Located on Second Street, between Main and Walnut Streets in Danville, KY, the African American business district thrived for over 100 years. The area was razed by Urban Renewal in 1973. A Kentucky Historical Marker notes how valued the district was to the African American community of Danville and nearby areas. For more see the Kentucky Historical Marker Database #1958.
Subjects: Businesses
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

African American Shoe Makers and Shoe Repairers in Lexington, KY, Prior to 1900
End Year : 1900
The term shoemaker was sometimes written as two words [shoe maker] in the early city directories. The making of shoes was one of the skilled labors performed by slaves throughout the South. Once slavery ended, former slaves used the skill in their businesses that were often operated out of their homes. The industrial manufacturing and mass production of shoes would greatly reduced the number of individual shoemakers. The names of the shoe factories, especially in Louisville, KY, can be found in city directories, along with the listing of shoemakers, both African American and white. In Lexington, KY, there was an abundance of African American shoemakers, and a few shoe repairers. They are noted in the directories with (c), (col), (cld), or (col'd). Below are the names of some of the African American shoemakers and shoe repairers located in Lexington, KY, prior to the year 1900. Practically all were born in Kentucky.

 

  • Sally A. Jackson was a shoe binder who lived on E. Short Street between N. Mulberry and Walnut. She was a free person and is listed in the Directory of the City of Lexington and County of Fayette for 1838 & '39.
  • Micajah M. Mason was a shoemaker who lived on W. Water Street between N. Mill and Broadway. He is listed as a free man in the 1838-39 directory, and in the 1859-60 directory when he lived on E. S. Mulberry between Short and Barr Streets.
  • Edward Oliver was a boot and shoe maker. He lived at 4 E. Water Street and is listed as free in the 1838-39 directory.
  • Parker Pee (b.1808 in KY) was a shoe and boot maker and lived at 23 W. Short Street. He is listed as free in the 1838-39 directory, in the 1859-60 directory when he was living on S. Main between Broadway and Spring Streets, and he is listed in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census.
  • William Tanner, a shoe maker, lived on E. Short Street between Walnut and Bank Streets. He is listed as free in the 1838-39 directory
  • Thomas Johnson (b.1822 in KY) was a shoemaker on S. Broadway between Main and Water Streets. He is listed as a free man in the 1859-60 directory, and in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census.
  • Isaac Robinson was a shoemaker who lived on S. Short Street between Spring and Jefferson. He is listed as a free man in the 1859-60 directory, and he is listed as cook living at 11 S. Broadway in the 1877-78 directory.
  • Moses Thomas, boots and shoes, lived on S. Short Street between Broadway and Mill Streets. He is listed as a free man in the 1859-60 directory.
  • Andrew Bryant, Sr. (b.1814 in KY) was a boot and shoemaker at Hunt's Row. He was born in Kentucky, and lived on High Street between Upper and Mulberry Streets. Bryant was married to Myra Bryant, b.1839 in KY. He is listed as a free man in Williams' Lexington [Kentucky] Directory, City Guide, and Business Mirror, Volume 1 - 1859-60 and he is also listed in Maydwell's Lexington City Directory 1867.
  • E. Dishman and Lawson Dishman were boot and shoemakers at 13 1/2 Water Street, both are listed in Sheppard's Lexington City Directory 1873 and 1874. Ebenezer Dishman, Sr. (1818-1901) and Lawson Dishman (1828-1899) were two of the sons of William and Frances Dishman. Ebenezer was born in Fayette County, KY, and was the husband of Georgiana Dishman (b.1830). They are listed in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census as the parents of four children. Lawson Dishman was born in Fayette County, KY, and was the husband of May Dishman. Lawson Dishman was a shoemaker and a tanner. He is later listed in William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82, as a shoemaker in Dill's Ally, 4th house west of Jefferson St. In the same directory is a listing for Ebenezer and his son James E. Dishman (b.1852). They are listed as shoemakers at their home 205 N. Upper Street. James E. Dishman was born in Fayette County, KY.
  • (1873 and 1874) Alex Burton was a shoe maker at 13 1/2 Water Street, he lived in Guntown. By 1880, Burton had moved his business and family to Danville, KY.
  • (1873 and 1874) Lewis Morton was a shoemaker at 175 E. Third Street.
  • Harvey Young, b.1814 in KY, had his shop at 159 Correll [Corral] Street. He was the husband of Susan Young, b.1839 in KY. Twelve year old Daniel Bell lived with the Youngs. They are all listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. Harvey Young's business is listed in Prather's Lexington City Directory 1875 and 1876. In an earlier directory, Williams' Lexington City Directory 1864-65, Harvey Young was listed as a shoemaker, with no race distinction, and his home was on Water Street between Upper and Mulberry Streets.
  • David French (b.1822) was a shoemaker at 112 N. Upper Street, according to Prather's Lexington City Directory 1875 and 1876. He was born in Kentucky, and was the husband of Hannah French, b.1835 in KY.
  • John Thomas (b.1857) had his business in his home at 206 N. Limestone, which is listed in the R. C. Hellrigle and Co's Lexington City Directory 1877-78. He was born in Kentucky, the son of Emma Thompson and the brother of shoemaker Charles Thomas [listed below].
  • Silas Crowders sold shoes and boots at 267 N. Limestone, near his home at 269 Limestone. His business is listed in Williams' Lexington City Directory 1881-82. There is an earlier listing for Silas Crowdus (b.1824 in KY), in Prather's Lexington City Directory 1875 and 1876, he was a shoemaker located at 137 S. Broadway
  • Titus Buckner (1855-1936) was a minister and shoemaker, his business was at his home on Winslow Street between Upper and Limestone, according to William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82. [He was still repairing shoes in the 1930s and is listed in Polk's Lexington (Kentucky) City Directory 1931-32.] Reverend Titus Buckner was born in Fayette County, KY. He was the husband of Julia Buckner, b.1856 in KY, and the couple lived at 196 Eddie Street, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. Titus Buckner was a widower by 1920. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, according to his death certificate.
  • Price Buford (b.1820 in KY) worked out of his home in Gill's Alley, 9th house west of Jefferson Street, according to William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82.
  • Shoemaker Evan Collins did business at the home he shared with Charles Henderson, located in an ally between Spring, Lower, Maxwell, and Pine Streets. Collins is listed in William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82.
  • Isaac Johnson was a shoe repairer on Georgetown Street, 3rd house north of King. He is listed in William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82.
  • Charles Skillman (1844-1888) made shoes at his home, 144 Lower Street. He was born in Kentucky, and was the husband of Emma Skillman b.1850 in KY. Charles Skillman is listed in William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82.
  • Charles Taylor and Charles A. Thomas (b.1862) were both shoemakers at 138 N. Limestone. Charles Thomas was born in Kentucky, the son of Emma Thompson, and the brother of shoemaker John Thomas. Thomas and Taylor are listed separately in William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82, but with the same address.
  • The William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82 lists two John Toles, the first worked at his home, 80 N. Broadway. The second John Toles also worked from his home on Vine Street, 3rd door east of Broadway. The older John Toles was born in 1820 in Kentucky.
  • John Wilkerson (b.1832) made shoes on Broadway, 3rd house north of Maxwell. His home was on Limestone and Winslow. Wilkerson was born in Kentucky, and was the husband of Virginia Wilkerson, b.1834 in KY. John Wilkerson is listed in William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82.
  • Nathaniel Wilson (b.1809 in VA) lived on Limestone and worked from home, the fifth house south of 6th Street, according to William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82.
  • Shoemaker William Vinegar had a business on Cox Street, he worked out of his home. His business is listed in William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82.
Shoe makers in Lexington, listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census:
  • Albert Diggs (b.1854), Sanders Diggs (1855-1898), and Edmund Diggs (1857-1912), all born in Kentucky, and the sons of Brooks and Emily Carter Diggs. The family of nine lived in Brucetown.
  • Jack Stopher (b.1845) was the husband of Minnie Stopher (b.1850). The family of five were all born in Kentucky, and lived in Kinkeadtown.
  • Shoemaker John Tobs (b.1820) was also a servant with the Wasfield family. Tobs lived with the family on Broadway.
Shoe makers listed in the Directory of African Americans in Lexington, Kentucky, 1893 by D. Y. Wilkinson:
  • Isaiah Graves at 29 Ballard Street.
  • Charles Green worked for F. King. His address was 24 Wickliffe Street.
  • William S. Irvine at 57 Megowan Street.
  • John Latcher at 55 E. Water Street.
  • Wallace Maxberry at 5 Drake Street.
  • Henry Nichols (b.1860 in KY) at 79 S. Limestone, he was the husband of Susan Nichols. In 1900, the couple lived on Corral Street, according to the U.S. Federal Census.
  • Isaiah Stone at 11 Blackburn Street.
  • Charles Thurston at 57 Megowan Street.
Shoe makers in Lexington, mentioned in newspapers:
  • George Robinson (1863-1911), a shoe maker who was born in Kentucky, died in 1911 after being burned in a fire at his home at 180 Locust Avenue in Lexington, KY. Source: Lexington Leader, 08/28/1911, p.1. Robinson was a widow, according to the 1910 U.S. Federal Census.
[See also NKAA entries African American Shoe Shiners and Shoe Repairers in Lexington, KY, 1930-1947; African American Shoe Makers in Kentucky; and African American Shoe Makers from Kentucky.]
Subjects: Businesses, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

African American Shoe Shiners and Shoe Repairers in Lexington, KY, 1930-1947
Start Year : 1930
End Year : 1947
By 1920, there were approximately 50,000 shoe repair shops in the United States. In Lexington,KY, there were many African Americans who supported their families as shoe repairers, shoe shiners, and shoe finishers. The making, repairing and caring of shoes were trades taught in Kentucky's African American normal and industrial institutes, orphanages, and schools for students with disabilities. During the economic depression, when jobs were few and the purchase of new shoes had drastically declined, skilled workers in other trades turned to shoe repair and shoe shining as a source of income. Very limited research has been done on these occupations, but very good documentation can be found in reference to Lexington, KY, and African Americans employed in the shoe care and repair market. Below are some of their names for the years 1930-1947. Many were WWI and WWII veterans. The information comes from Polk's Lexington (Kentucky) City Directories, U.S. Federal Census Records, military registration records, death certificates, and other sources as noted.

[See also the NKAA entries African American Shoe Makers and Shoe Repairers in Lexington , KY, prior to 1900; African American Shoe Makers in Kentucky; and African American Shoe Makers from Kentucky.]

  • William Anderson was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe and Hat Shop (1939 directory). William and Luvenia Anderson lived at 252 E. 3rd Street (1940-41 directory).
  • William E. Anderson (b.1873) was a shoe shiner for M. Churchill Johnson. He had been a porter at his father's barber shop at the corner of Main and Upper Streets, according to his WWI draft registration card. Anderson lived at 321 E. 2nd Street (1940-41 directory) with his father Will Anderson. [see also NKAA entry Suter Brothers, Barbers]
  • Robert Arthur was a shoe repairman at Ben Snyder Inc. Robert and Mary Arthur lived at 668A Charlotte Court (1942 directory).
  • Thomas Atkins was a shoe shiner at Woodland Barber Shop. He lived at 543 E. 2nd Street (1937 directory).
  • Edward Bailey was a shoe shiner at E E Harber Shoe Repair Company. He lived at 150 N. Eastern Avenue (1947 directory).
  • Roosevelt Ballard was a shoe repairman at E E Harber Shoe Repair Company. He lived at 389 Patterson Street (1945 directory).
  • James W. Beatty was a shoe shiner at 204 Deweese Street (1942 directory).
  • Benjamin Bibbs (b.1880) was a shoe shiner at N Y Hat Cleaners (1931 directory). According to his WWI draft registration card, Bibbs had been a tinner at State University on Limestone [now University of Kentucky], and he and Lena Bibbs lived at 167 E. 7th Street.
  • William Bibbs was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. He lived at 716 N. Limestone Street (1940-41 directory).
  • Coleman Bledshaw was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. He was the husband of Artemesia Bledshaw, and the couple lived at 530 Lawrence Street (1940-41 directory).
  • Daniel Boone was a shoe shiner for Clyde R. Clem. Boone lived at 558 N. Upper Street (1937 directory).
  • Robert Brookter was a shoe repairman for Mrs. Sadie Bederman. He lived at 501 Patterson Street (1945 directory). [The last name Brookter was more common in Louisiana and Mississippi, than in Kentucky.]
  • Willie Brown (b.1916) was a shoe shiner at a shoe shining parlor in Lexington, KY. He and his wife Alice Brown lived at 374 E. 2nd Street. Willie Brown lived in Hopkinsville, KY, in 1935 (1940 U.S. Federal Census).
  • William Huston Bradshaw (b.1877) was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe Shop. He lived at 274 E. 2nd Street (1940-41 directory), and was the husband of Susie Bradshaw, according to his WWI draft registration card. 
  • Matthew Buckner was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. Buckner lived at 448 Ohio Street (1937 directory).
  • Thomas Henry Buckner (b.1878) was a shoe shiner. He lived at 450 Chestnut Street (1943-44 directory). He had been a waiter at the Phoenix Hotel in downtown Lexington, according to his WWI draft registration card, and lived at 824 Charles Avenue with his wife Mollie Buckner.
  • Titus Buckner (1855-1936) was a shoe repairman (1931 directory). He had also been a shoemaker and was listed in William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82. Buckner was also a minister. Reverend Titus Buckner was born in Fayette County, KY. He was the husband of Julia Buckner, b.1856 in KY. The couple lived at 196 Eddie Street, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. Titus Buckner was a widower by 1920, and Mattie Titus is listed as his wife in the 1931 city directory. Titus Buckner is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Lexington, KY, according to his death certificate.
  • Jesse Cawl (1911-1971) was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe Shop at 244 E. Short Street (1942 directory). He was born in Jefferson County, KY, and Eugene Booker is listed as his mother on the birth certificate. Cawl was a WWII veteran, he enlisted in Cincinnati, OH, on January 22, 1943, according to his Army enlistment record. Cawl died in Louisville, KY.
  • Felix Chapman (1906-1966) was a shoe maker in 1940 (U.S. Federal Census). He was also a shoe repairman and shoe finisher for Charles H. McAtee. Chapman lived at 366 E. 2nd Street (1939 directory and 1940-41 directory). He was later a shoe repairman at E E Harber Shoe Repair Company, and lived at 545 Wilson Street (1945 directory). Chapman had been a chauffeur and lived at 336 E. Short Street (1927 directory). Chapman died in Bourbon County, KY.
  • Marcus Caldwell was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. Marcus and Sarah Caldwell lived at 507F S. Aspendale Drive (1939 directory).
  • Robert D. Claybourne (b.1880) was a shoe repairman at McGurk's Shoe Shop. He lived with his wife, Lollia Claybourne, and family at 357 Wilson Street (1947 directory). Claybourne, born in KY, had been a shoemaker at a shoe store in Louisville according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census.
  • Farris Craig (b.1890) was a shoe shiner for Fred D. Bostic. Craig lived at 352 Poplar Street (1937 directory). He is listed with his wife Anna H. Craig, and his step-daughter in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. He had been a porter in a barber shop owned by William Johnson in Lexington, KY, according to his WWI draft registration card. Craig was born in Danville, KY, the son of John and Jessie Craig, according to the 1900 Census.
  • Kenneth Craig (1923-1945) was a shoe repairman for Samuel Bederman. He lived in Versailles, KY (1943-44 directory). Craig was born in Buffalo, NY, the son of Clayton Coleman and Roy C. Craig, Sr., and according to his death certificate, his parents were Kentucky natives. Kenneth Craig died of tuberculosis in Lexington, KY.
  • Joseph Davis was a shoe repairman employed by Samuel Bederman. Davis lived at 324 Hickory Street (1931 directory). He was later a shoe shiner at Harber Shoe Repair Company, and lived at 501D N. Aspendale Avenue (1940-41 directory).
  • John Doty was a shoe shiner at Broadway Shine Parlor. He lived at 468 Kenton Street (1942 directory).
  • Loyal R. Drye (1901-1975) was a shoe shiner at Five Minute Hat Shop. Loyal and his wife Eliza lived at 178 Race Street (1931 directory). He died in Cincinnati, OH.
  • Jessie Edwards was a shoe shiner for Samuel Bederman. He lived at 327 Chestnut Street (1940-41 directory).
  • Ceola Evans (b.1913) was a shoe shiner at a shoe shining parlor. He and his wife Bessie Mary Spencer Evans and their two children lived with the Spencer family at 562 E. Third Street (1940 U.S. Federal Census).
  • Alphonso Fair was a shoe shiner employed by William T. Hurst. Alphonso and Mayme Fair lived at 446 Ash Street (1931 directory).
  • Nathaniel C. Farmer was a shoe repairman at 306 E. 2nd Street (1931 directory).
  • William Fisher was a shoe shiner at Broadway Shine Parlor. He lived at 197 Deweese Street (1947 directory).
  • Thomas Foster was a shoe shiner at Harber Shoe Repair Company. Foster lived at 313 Henry Street (1939 directory).
  • Lawrence Fox was a shoe shiner for Martin Berlin. Fox lived at 427 Kenton Street (1940-41 directory).
  • Mitchell Garth (b.1881) was a shoe shiner. He worked from his home at 133 W. Water Street (1937 directory). Garth was born in Alabama, and had been a janitor while a boarder at the home of Samuel Young on Corral Street, according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census.
  • James A. Graves (b.1891) repaired shoes at his home, 523 S. Spring Street (1931 directory). He was born in Kentucky, the son of Florida Graves, according to the 1920 U.S. Census. James Graves later repaired shoes at 211 Deweese Street (1937 directory). James was the husband of Abbie Graves. The city directory entry reads "Shoe Repair Shop, I Doctor Shoes, Heel Them and Save Their Soles" (1945 directory).
  • Patrick Green was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe Shop (1947 directory).
  • Walker Green was a shoe finisher at McGurk's Shoe Shop. He lived at 726 Chiles Avenue (1945 directory).
  • Peter Harley was a shoe shiner at 164 Race Street (1943-44 directory).
  • Sam Harris (b.1880) was a shoe repairman at a shoe shop. He and his wife Deedie lived on 533 Jefferson Street in Lexington (1940 U.S. Federal Census).
  • Samuel M. Harrison (1874-1951) was a shoemaker and shoe repairman at 535 Jefferson Street, and he lived at 533 Jefferson Street (1931 directory). Harrison was born in Fayette County, KY, the son of Martha Allen Harrison and Essix Harrison, according to his death certificate. He was the husband of Cordelia Harrison. By the 1940s, Samuel Harrison had expanded his shoe repair business to include the making of artificial limbs (1943-44 directory). Samuel M. Harrison is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Lexington, KY.
  • John F. Holman was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe & Hat Shop. He lived at 150 N. Eastern Avenue (1943-44 directory).
  • Henry E. Howe (1911-1984) was a shoe finisher at a shoe shop in 1930 when he was living with his grandmother Mary Howe at 275 E. 4th Street, according to the U.S. Federal Census. He was later a shoe repairman at 607 N. Limestone, and was married to Nannie Howe. The couple lived at 275 E. 4th Street (1937 directory). A few years later, Henry Howe lived at 332 Ohio Street (1942 directory) with his wife Louise P. Howe (1945 directory), and he was still repairing shoes on N. Limestone.
  • Alex Hutsel was a shoe shiner employed by Samuel Bederman. Hutsel lived at 350 Deweese Street (1942 directory).
  • William Irvin was a shoe shiner for Robert E. Parris. Irvin lived at 549 Thomas Street (1937 directory).
  • Christ Jackson was listed as a laborer who lived at 180 Correll Street [Corral Street] in the R. C. Hellrigle and Co's Lexington City Directory 1877-78, and he was later a shoe shiner at Broadway Shine Parlor (1939 directory). Christ and Lillie Jackson lived at 309 Coleman Street (1939 directory and 1940-41 directory).
  • James L. Jackson was a shoe shiner who lived at 217 E. 2nd Street (1942 directory).
  • Robert Jackson was a shoe repairman for Sol Bederman. He and his wife Annabelle Jackson lived at 219 E. 2nd Street (1945 directory).
  • Roy Jackson was a shoe shiner at 314 Corral Street (1931 directory).
  • Robert E. Johnson was a shoe shiner for Samuel Bederman. He lived at 436 Kenton Street (1943-44 directory).
  • Shirley B. Johnson was a paperhanger when he and his wife Sidney lived at 553 Ohio Street (1931-32 directory). Shirley Johnson was later a shoe shiner at O K Barber Shop, and the couple lived at 145 Prall Street (1939 directory).
  • Chester Jones was a shoe repairman at 559 White Street (1937 directory). He was later a shoe shiner at the Lexington Shoe Hospital (1939 directory).
  • Lloyd Jones was a shoe finisher and shoe repairman at McGurk's Shoe and Hat Shop. Lloyd and Mary Jones lived at 684C Charlotte Court (1943-44 directory & 1945 directory).
  • Oliver Jones was a shoe shiner at 371 Corral Street (1937 directory).
  • William C. Jones repaired shoes at 243 Lee Street. He and his wife Callie C. Jones lived at 923 Whitney Avenue (1931 directory).
  • John L. Lawrence was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. John and Mary Lawrence lived at 450 N. Upper Street (1940-41 directory).
  • David Lee was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe & Hat Shop. He lived at 736 N. Broadway (1943-44 directory).
  • Spurgeon L. Lewis (1911-1985) was a shoe shiner at Unique Shine Parlor. Lewis lived at 326 E. 2nd Street (1937 directory) with his parents, Henry S. and Elizabeth T. Lewis. There was a family of eight listed in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census.
  • Joseph B. Lyons, Sr. was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. Joseph and Sam Ella Lyons lived at 182 Eddie Street (1937 directory). They later lived at 507D S. Aspendale Drive (1942 directory). [He was the father of Donald W. Lyons, Sr. and Joseph B. Lyons, Jr.]
  • Robert Hamilton McClasky (b.1881) was a shoemaker at his home at 209 South Broadway, and was the husband of Clara M. McClasky, according to his WWI draft registration card. He is listed as a widow in the 1920 Census, he was sharing his home, 207 S. Broadway, with his brother John E. McClasky (b.1891) who was a shoe repairman. Both brothers were born in Kentucky. Robert McClasky was later a shoe repairman at 207 S. Broadway (1931 directory), and would become the owner of Tuskegee Shoe Shop, which had a separate entry in the city directory (1945 directory). The shop was located at his home. The directory entry reads "Tuskegee Shoe Shop, (c; Robert H. McClasky), 35 Years of Dependable Service, Shoe Repairing, and Rebuilding." He was the husband of Birdie McClasky (1945 directory).
  • Andrew McGee (1894-1942) was a shoe shiner for John K. Reeder. McGee lived at 346 Corral Street (1939 directory). He is listed in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census as a barber. He had earlier been a porter at Wiley & Fields, at the corner of Main and Broadway, according to McGee's WWI registration card. Andrew McGee was born in Kentucky, the son of Pollie Lee and William McGee, according to his death certificate. He lived with his grandmother when he was a child; Jane Lee was a widow who lived on Constitution Street in Lexington, KY, according to the 1900 Census. Andrew McGee was a WWI veteran and is buried in the National Cemetery in Nicholasville, KY.
  • Michael Miegel was a shoe shiner at Broadway Shine Parlor (1947 directory).
  • William Mells was a shoe shiner for Martin Berlin (1940-41 directory). He later shined shoes at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. William and Jean Mells lived at 248 Jefferson Street (1942 directory). Jean Hamilton Mells was a 47 year old widow when she died in 1948, according to her death certificate.
  • Thomas Mells (1900-1967) was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. Mells lived at 122 W. 4th Street (1942 directory), and later lived at 248 Jefferson Street (1943-44 directory). He died in Lexington, KY, according to the Social Security Death Index.
  • Thomas Mullen was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe Shop. He lived at 351 E. 3rd Street (1940-41 directory).
  • Robert Mundy (1915-1976) and Thomas L. Mundy (1916-1983) were brothers, both were shoe shiners at Harber Shoe Repair Company. Robert was the husband of Ruth Mundy and the couple lived at 419 Chestnut Street. Thomas Mundy lived at 243 Ann Street (1937 directory). The brothers were born in Kentucky, the sons of George and Sally Mundy. The family of seven is listed in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, they lived on Mary Street in Lexington, KY.
  • Edward M. Neal, Jr. was a shoe repairman at 508 Thomas Street (1937 directory).
  • Raymond Nichols was a shoe shiner for Henry Howe (above). Nichols lived at 738 N. Broadway (1939 directory).
  • Kenneth A. Paige (1903-1961) was a shoe repairman at 322 Chestnut Street in the 1930s. Kenneth and his wife Anna J. Paige lived at 219 W. 7th Street (1931 directory). Kenneth Paige is listed in the Lexington city directory for almost two decades, including his employment at E E Harber Shoe Repair Company (1942 directory). Paige was also a shoe repairman at Pinkston's, and lived at 351 Corral Street (1945 directory). He was owner of "Paige's Shoe Repair Shop, The House of Souls and Heels." The business was located at 211 Deweese Street (1947 directory).
  • Charles Palmer did shoe repairs at his home, 445 Chestnut Street. He was the husband of Anna B. Palmer (1931 directory).
  • John Nimrod Paul was born in 1885 in Russell County, KY. He was the husband of Emma Grider Paul, born in 1892 in Cumberland, KY. The couple lived in Russell Springs, KY, according to John Paul's WWI registration card. John Paul had a shoemaker's shop in Russell Springs according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. By 1930, the family of six lived in Lexington, KY, and John Paul did shoe repairs from their home at 457 Georgetown Street (1931 directory).
  • Felix Pearsall (1922) was a shoe shiner for Charles H. McAtee (1939 directory). He was the son of Katherine Pearsall who was a widow when listed in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census.
  • Gilbert W. Potter (1910-1954) was a shoe shiner for Sol Bederman, and he and his wife Virginia lived at 667C Charlotte Court F (1945 directory). He had been a waiter (1937 directory), and was later a porter at Drake Hotel (1939 directory). Gilbert W. Potter served in the U.S. Army during WWII, he enlisted in Cincinnati, OH, October 23, 1942, according to his enlistment record.
  • William Reed (b.1924) was a shoe shiner in a barber shop. He was the son of Susy Reed. The family lived at 349 Wilson Street (1940 U.S. Federal Census).
  • Albert Rogers was a shoe shiner at Harber Shoe Repair Company. Rogers lived at 230 E. 2nd Street (1937 directory).
  • Jesse Ross shined shoes at N Y Hat Cleaners. He lived at 731 Whitney Avenue (1931 directory).
  • Paul L. Seals (1930-1985) was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe Shop. He lived at 500C N. Aspendale Drive (1947 directory). Seals was the son of Robert P. and Marjorie R. Seals, the family of four is listed in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census.
  • Harry Shields was a shoe repairman. He lived at 248 E. Short Street (1942 directory). Shields was later a shoe repairman at Tuskegee Shoe Shop (1947 directory). He was the husband of Sarah Shields.
  • David Singleton was a shoe shiner for Sol Bederman. He lived at 248 E. 5th Street (1937 directory).
  • Jerry Smith was a shoe shiner at 118 W. Vine Street. He was the husband of Beatrice T. Smith (1947 directory).
  • John Smith repaired shoes at 401 1/2 Race Street. He and his wife Mary Smith lived at 562 Thomas Street (1931 directory).
  • Rudolph Smith was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe & Hat Shop. He lived at 374 E. 2nd Street (1943-44 directory). He was later a shoe shiner at E E Harber Shoe Repair Company, and lived at 428 Ash Street (1945 directory).
  • Thornton Smith was a shoe shiner at 390 Patterson Street. Smith lived at 721 Noble Avenue (1942 directory).
  • George W. Stewart was a shoe repairman at 337 N. Limestone. George and Leona P. Stewart lived at 341 N. Limestone (1937 directory).
  • George A. Stone was a shoe shiner and a shoe repairman at Harber Shoe Repair Company. Stone lived at 532 Emma Street (1939 directory), and later lived at 425 N. Upper Street (1943-44 directory).
  • A second George A. Stone was a shoe finisher at 417 E. 2nd Street. He was the husband of Rose L. Stone (1943-44 directory), the couple lived at 309 E. 2nd Street (1940-41 directory).
  • Albert Taylor was a shoe shiner. He lived at 133 Water Street (1940-41 directory).
  • Dillard Taylor (1884-1939) did shoe repairs at 801 Whitney Avenue. He was married to Lizzie Taylor (1931 directory). Dillard Taylor was born in Scott County, KY, the son of Litha Redd and George Taylor, according to his death certificate. He was buried in Georgetown, KY.
  • George T. Taylor (1900-1952) was a shoe repairman. He lived at 322 Chestnut Street (1942 directory). Taylor was later a shoe repairman at Third Street Bargain Store. George and Rosa Taylor lived at 316 Deweese Street (1945 directory). According to his death certificate, George T. Taylor was also a shoemaker. He was born in Macon, GA, the son of Eugenia and Lee Taylor. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Lexington, KY.
  • Ella B. Thomas was one of the few women who were employed as a shoe repairer. The business was at 337 N. Limestone, and Thomas lived at 341 N. Limestone (1931 directory).
  • James Tribble was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe & Hat Shop. He lived at 753 Loraine Avenue (1943-44 directory).
  • Sanford Vinegar was a shoe shiner for George Miner. He lived at 477 W. 4th Street (1937 directory).
  • E. Waldo was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners located at 321 Wilson Street (1942 directory). He was the husband of Corine Waldo.
  • Joseph E. Walker was a shoe shiner. Joseph and Mozelle Walker lived at 157 N. Eastern Avenue (1945 directory).
  • Virgil Washington was a shoe repairman employed by Sol Bederman. Washington lived at 309 E. 6th Street (1931 directory).
  • Thompson Webb was a shoe shiner at Unique Shine Parlor. He was the husband of Hattie Webb (1939 directory).
  • Earl White was a shoe shiner for Sol Bederman. White lived at 702 Lindbergh Court (1940-41 directory).
  • Joseph White was a shoe repairman for Samuel Bederman. White lived at 343 E. 2nd Street (1937 directory).
  • Albert Wilkerson was a shoe shiner at State Cleaners. He lived at 413 Elm Street (1937 directory)
  • Jesse Williams was a shoe repairman at Harber Shoe Repair Company. Jesse and Clara Williams lived at 205 E. Euclid Avenue (1937 directory).
  • Jesse Williams, Jr. was a shoe repairman at E E Harber Shoe Repair Company. He lived at 248 Roosevelt Boulevard (1943-44 directory).
  • William Wilson was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters & Cleaners (1937 directory).
  • William Winchester was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners (1940-41 directory).
  • Harry E. Worsham was a shoe shiner at Lexington Shoe Hospital. Worsham lived at 445 Chestnut Street (1942 directory). He was later a shoe repairman for Mrs. Sadie Bederman (1945 directory).
  • Nathaniel Young was a shoe shiner at Martin's Barber Shop. Nathaniel and Luella Young lived at 108 York Street (1939 directory).

See 1907 photo image of shoe shiner on Lexington, KY street in University of Louisville Libraries: Digital Archives. For more information on shoe repairing in general, see The Shoe Industry by F. J. Allen. For more general information on African American shoe shiners see Encyclopedia of African American Business, v.2, K-Z, edited by J. C. Smith. See also Establishing and Operating a Shoe Repair Business by J. G. Schnitzer and C. R. Budd.


Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Tuberculosis: Care and Deaths, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Russell Springs, Russell County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Bourbon County, Kentucky / Alabama / Cincinnati, Ohio / Macon, Georgia / Louisiana / Mississippi / Buffalo, New York

African Cemetery No. 2 (Lexington, KY)
Start Year : 1869
End Year : 1976
The cemetery has been located at 419 E. 7th Street since 1869 when, according to The Kentucky Leader (02/03/1892), the Union Benevolent Society No. 2 formed "to take care of the sick, bury the dead and perform other deeds of charity." The organization purchased four acres in November 1869; the charter from the Legislature permitted the operation of a cemetery in 1870. In 1875 another four acres were purchased. The official name of the cemetery became Benevolent Society No. 2 of Lexington, Kentucky. Well over 6,000 men, women, and children are interred in the cemetery, and 100 have been identified as U.S. Colored Troops of the Civil War. The information in this entry comes from African American Cemetery No. 2, a flier published by African Cemetery No. 2, Inc. (Feb. 2005). Board member Yvonne Giles has been researching the history of the cemetery and completed the publication titled Stilled Voices Yet Speak in 2009. There is also a film about the cemetery titled Eight Acres of History: Lexington's African Cemetery No.2, produced by the Lexington Public Library Cable Channel 20. For more information about the cemetery, Juneteenth celebrations, and other events, see African Cemetery No. 2 or contact the African Cemetery No. 2, Inc., P. O. Box 54874, Lexington, Kentucky 40555. See also S. Lannen, "Reliving Slavery," Lexington Herald Leader, 6/19/05, City&Region section, p.B1; and M. Riegert and A. Turkington, "Setting stone decay in a cultural context: conservation at the African Cemetery No. 2, Lexington, Kentucky, USA," Building and Environment, vol. 38, issues 9-10 (September-October 2003), pp. 1105-1111.



*NOTE: There are five subpages at the African Cemetery No.2 website: A Brief History ; Grave Markers - Names A-Z ; Horsemen Names ; Newsletter ; Veterans.

 

 
Subjects: Businesses, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Benevolent Societies, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Alcohol Not Served to Women at Bars
Start Year : 1938
End Year : 1974
In January 1952, there were three arrests: Miss Frankie E. Maxwell, owner of the Top Hat Tavern in Louisville, KY, and her bartenders Lloyd A. Phillips and George Smith. Each was charged with selling cocktails to females at the bar. The Kentucky Law § 2554b-188, which had been in effect since 1938, stated that, "[n]o distilled spirits or wine shall be sold, given away or served, on premises licensed under this Act for the sale of alcoholic beverages at retail for consumption on the premises, to females, except at tables where food may be served." Maxwell, Phillips and Smith were charged a reduced fine of $100 each for the offenses, but their attorney asked for the $300 fine so that the cases could be appealed. In 1974, § 2554b-188 was repealed. For more see "Café manager fined for serving drinks to women at bar," The Louisville Defender, 01/05/1952, vol. 18, issue 41, front page & p. 2; and 244.320 Females to be served only at tables [Repealed, 1974].
Subjects: Alcohol, Businesses
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Allen, Dudley
Birth Year : 1845
Death Year : 1911
Dudley Allen, a slave born in Lexington, KY, was owned by either Walter or John Dunn. Allen would become a noted thoroughbred owner and trainer. He owned a stock farm in Lexington, where he trained his own young horses and sold others to wealthy horsemen. Allen had purchased the farm after serving in the 5th U.S. Colored Cavalry Regiment. He was the first African American to own a Kentucky Derby winner: he was part owner of the 1891 winner Kingman, ridden by Isaac Murphy. Allen was one of two leading trainers at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY. The following was submitted by University of Kentucky Anthropology Researcher Nancy O'Malley: Dudley died at his residence, 416 Kinkead Street in Lexington, KY. He and his wife, Margaret Crittenden Allen (d. 1919), had lived in the home since around 1871, when Margaret purchased the lot from George B. Kinkead. The couple was married by Reverend George Downing in Lexington in 1866, after Dudley Allen had served in the Army with Company M of the 5th U.S. Colored Cavalry, 1864-1866 as a Quartermaster Sergeant. The 5th Colored Cavalry fought October 2, 1864, in Saltville, VA; "many of the soldiers had not been adequately trained and were not properly equipped, and a disastrous defeat followed." The 5th Colored Cavalry also fought at Lexington on October 19, and at Harrodsburg on October 21, retuning to Virginia in December when the Saltville works were destroyed. For more see Dudley Allen in the Encyclopedia of Ethnicity and Sports in the United States, by G. B. Kirsch, et al. See also "The Allen House Lot," chapter XI in Kinkeadtown: Archaeological Investigation of an African-American Neighborhood in Lexington, Kentucky, by N. O'Malley. Quotation from Nancy O'Malley's submission.

Nancy O'Malley, Assistant Director
William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology and
Office of State Archeology
1020A Export Street
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 40506
Ph. 859-257-1944
FAX: 859-323-1968
Subjects: Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Arnett, Charles H.
Birth Year : 1858
Born in Henderson, KY, Arnett was an ordained minister, owned a contracting business, and built seven churches (two in Sebree, KY) and a number of homes in Kentucky. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915.
Subjects: Businesses, Construction, Contractors, Builders, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky / Sebree, Webster County, Kentucky

Bailey, John S.
Birth Year : 1830
Death Year : 1892
John S. Bailey, the husband of Julia Frances Bailey, was one of the wealthiest African Americans in Racine, WI. He was born in Kentucky, and moved to Indiana where he married Julia in 1851. By 1857, the couple lived in Racine, where John owned a barber shop. They were two among the 92 African Americans living in Racine, Wisconsin in 1860, and there were several from Kentucky. John's barbering business was a success and he was able to hire others to work for him, including white barbers. Bailey's barber shop was located in the basement of the American Bank in Racine. He had a home built for his family at 1124 Wisconsin Avenue. His daughter Florence (b.1860) is thought to have been the first Colored student and graduate of Racine High School. Bailey's two sons, George S. (b.1865) and William H. (b.1869), were in the barbering business with their father. Julia Bailey's parents were from Kentucky, they had migrated to Indiana where Julia was born in 1833. A few years after John Bailey's death in 1892, his entire family moved to Fulton, Washington and are listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census: Julia was a dressmaker, no occupation was listed for Florence, and George and William were barbers. By 1910, Julia and her sons lived in Seattle, WA. George and William owned a barbershop. Julia Bailey is sometimes listed as Mulatto or white in the census records. By 1920, she is no longer listed, and George and William are still single, they live together, and still own their barbershop. It is not known if their father, John Bailey, was ever a slave in Kentucky. For more see "History: the John S. Bailey family," Milwaukee Star, 11/28/1970, p.6.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Migration West
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Racine, Wisconsin / Seattle, Washington

Ballard, William H., Sr.
Birth Year : 1862
Death Year : 1954
William Henry Ballard, born in Franklin County, KY, was one of the first African Americans to open a drug store in the state: Ballard's Pharmacy was established in Lexington, KY, in 1893. Ballard was also a historian; he is the author of History of Prince Hall Freemasonry in Kentucky, published in 1950. He came to Lexington when he was 17 years old, having previously lived in Louisville where he graduated from a public school. He was also a graduate of Roger Williams University [in TN]. Ballard was a school teacher in Tennessee and in Kentucky. He earned his B.S. in Pharm., D. in 1892 in Evanston, IL. In addition to owning his own drug store, Ballard was also director of Domestic Realty Company, and president of Greenwood Cemetery Company, both in Lexington. He served as president of the Emancipation and Civic League, and was a delegate to the National Republican Convention in 1898. He was the son of Matilda Bartlett Ballard and Dowan Ballard, Sr. He was married to Bessie H. Brady Ballard, and the couple had six children. Their oldest son, William H. Ballard, Jr. was a pharmacist in Chicago, and two of their sons were physicians. William H. Ballard is buried in the Cove Haven Cemetery in Lexington, KY [photo]. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915; W. H. Ballard, "Drugs and druggists," Records of the National Negro Business League, Part 1 Annual Conference Proceedings and Organizational Records, 1900-1919, 10th Annual Convention, Louisville, KY, August 18-20, 1909, reel 2, frames 186-189; and Dr. William Henry Ballard, Sr. in The Encyclopaedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church compiled by Bishop R. R. Wright.
Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Education and Educators, Historians, Medical Field, Health Care, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Fraternal Organizations, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Negro Business League, Pharmacists, Pharmacies
Geographic Region: Franklin County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Banks, William Webb
Birth Year : 1862
Death Year : 1928
William Webb Banks, who was born in Winchester, KY, was a correspondent for both white and African American newspapers. Banks issued the first call for the organization of Negro businesses in Kentucky. He made a formal protest before the Kentucky Legislature on the anti-separate coach movement. Banks was very politically active in Kentucky and beyond; in 1891, he was the Republican Party candidate for recorder in the U.S. Land Office in Washington. He had also been the commissioner to the Emancipation Exhibition held in 1913 in New York, and he was a delegate to the Half-Century Anniversary Celebration of Negro Freedom held in Chicago in 1915. Banks was the son of Patrick and Catherine Banks, and he was the husband of Anna B. Simms Banks. He was a janitor when he died September 14, 1928 in a hospital in Winchester, KY [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death Registered No.194]. For more see the William Webb Banks entry in Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915 [available full view at Google Book Search].

 

  See photo image of William Web Banks, botton right, on p.163 in Golden jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers
Geographic Region: Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky

Barbers (Louisville, KY)
Mention of the following African American barbers in Louisville, KY, can be found in The History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, by W. H. Gibson, Sr. : Washington Spradling, David Straws, Henry Cozzens, John Morris, Alexander Morris, Jr., Alexander Morris, Sr., Shelton Morris, Theodore Sterritt, Nathan B. Rogers, J. C. N. Fowles, and Austin Hubbard.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Barbour, James Bernie
Birth Year : 1881
Death Year : 1936
J. Bernie Barbour was born in Danville, KY, and it was thought that he died in New York. Barbour actually died in Chicago, IL, on April 11, 1936 [his name is misspelled as "Bernie Barfour" on the death certificate ref# rn11543], and his burial is noted with Central Plant Ill. Dem. Assn. Barbour was an 1896 music education graduate of Simmons University (KY), and he graduated from the Schmoll School of Music (Chicago) in 1899. Both he and N. Clark Smith founded a music publishing house in Chicago in 1903; it may have been the first to be owned by African Americans. Barbour also worked with other music publishing companies, including the W. C. Handy Music Company. He was a music director, and he played piano and sang in vaudeville performances and in nightclubs and toured with several groups. He composed operas such as Ethiopia, and spirituals such as Don't Let Satan Git You On De Judgment Day. He assisted in writing music for productions such as I'm Ready To Go and wrote the Broadway production, Arabian Knights Review. Barbour also organized the African American staff of Show Boat. J. Bernie Barbour was the son of Morris and Nicey Snead Barbour. He was the husband of Anna Maria Powers, they married May 29, 1909 in Seattle, WA [source: Washington Marriage Record Return #15629]. According to the marriage record, Anna M. Powers was a white or colored musician from New York. For more see Profiles of African American Stage Performers and Theatre People, 1816-1960, by B. L. Peterson; Who's Who in Colored America, 1928-1929; and "J. Berni Barbour" in Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians, by E. Southern.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / New York, New York / Chicago, Illinois

Barr, Henry
Birth Year : 1834
Death Year : 1902
Barr, a barber, was the first African American to build a commercial building in Watertown, NY, prior to 1910 when there 76 African Americans in the community. Barr had arrived in Watertown in 1865; he was an escaped slave from Kentucky and had been living in Montreal before moving to New York. Barr had a chicken farm and owned a dry cleaners and clothes dying shop before building the three story building named Barr Block. He was a successful businessman and leader in the African American community. He was one of the first Board of Trustee members of what is today Thomas Memorial AME Zion Church. The Henry Barr Underground Railroad Community Development, Inc. was named in his honor. For more see L. L. Scharer, "African-Americans in Jefferson County, New York; 1810-1910," Afro-Americans in New York Life and History, vol. 19, no. 1 (Jan. 31, 1995), pp. 7ff.; and J. Golden, "Blacks have long had faith in Watertown," Watertown Daily Times, 02/26/1995, Lifestyles and Leisure section, p. G1.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Freedom, Migration North, Religion & Church Work, Underground Railroad: Conductors, Escapes, Organizations, Research
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Watertown, New York

Bather, Paul C.
Birth Year : 1947
Death Year : 2009
Bather was a community and civic leader and an extremely capable manager in various capacities, including his role as treasurer of the Jefferson County, KY, government. His policies earned the county $10 million in investment income. He was also U. S. representative in an American-Soviet leadership exchange program. From 1986-2000, Bather was a member of the Louisville, KY, Board of Aldermen. In 2000, he was elected to the 43rd District House Seat of the Kentucky Legislature, completing the term of Porter Hatcher who had resigned. Bather was re-elected in 2002; he retired after one term in office. Bather was born in New York. He was a graduate of Fairfield University, City University of New York, and the University of Louisville. For more see African American Biographies: profiles of 558 current men and women, by W. L. Hawkins; HR291; and P. Burba and S. S. Shafer, "Paul Bather dies in Houston," Louisville Courier-Journal, 02/12/2009, News section, p.1B.
Subjects: Businesses, Civic Leaders, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Legislators, Kentucky
Geographic Region: New York / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Beauty Shops (Louisville, KY)
In 1968 the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights conducted a study on the nature and extent of Negro ownership of business in Louisville. The commission found that beauty shops were a leading business: Of the 490 Negro-owned businesses, 42.2% were beauty shops, 19.3% barber shops. Within Louisville as a whole, Negro-owned beauty shops were 42.74% of the total number of beauty shops in the city and 32.14% in the entire county. For more see Black Business in Louisville, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. For earlier information on African American beauty shops and other occupations, see A study of business and employment among Negroes in Louisville, by Associates of Louisville Municipal College, University of Louisville, Louisville Urban League, and Central Colored High School (1944).
Subjects: Businesses, Cosmetologists, Beauty Shops, Hairdressers, Beauty Supplies, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bentley, Daniel S.
Birth Year : 1850
Death Year : 1916
Reverend Daniel S. Bentley was born in Madison County, KY. Bentley attended Berea College and later left Kentucky for Pennsylvania. In Pittsburgh, he founded The Afro-American Spokesman newspaper, owned by the Spokesman Stock Company, of which Bentley was president. During this time, Bentley was also pastor of the Wylie Avenue A.M.E. Church in Pittsburgh. Bentley also authored Brief Religious Reflections in 1900. Rev. D. S. Bentley died suddenly in the pulpit of his church, St. Paul A. M. E. in Mckeesport, PA, on November 12, 1916 [source: "Dr. Bentley Dead," Cleveland Gazette, 12/09/1916, p.2]. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; Centennial Encyclopedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church..., by Richard Allen and others (Philadelphia: 1816), p. 38, at Documenting the American South website; and The Afro-American Press and Its Editors, by I. G. Penn (1891) [available full view at Google Book Search].

A brief bio and picture of Rev. Daniel S. Bentley are on pp.186-187 in The Sons of Allen by H. Talbert [available full text at Documenting the American South website].
Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Madison County, Kentucky / Pittsburgh and Mckeesport, Pennsylvania

Berry, Robert T. "R. T." and George W. Berry
R. T. Berry (1874-1967) was editor and publisher of the Kentucky Reporter, a weekly, pro-Repulican, newspaper in Louisville, KY, from 1899 to the 1930s. He co-founded the newspaper with his brother George W. Berry (1873-1939). Looking at the U.S. Census, the two had been tailors in 1900 and operated a newspaper in 1910, both in Owensboro,KY. They were the sons of George and Molly Berry, and the family lived in Glasgow, KY in 1900. George W. Berry was born in Allensville, KY, according to his death certificate. Both R. T. and George Berry's WWI Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, gives the following information: the newspaper was located at 445 7th Street in Louisville and managed by R. T.; George was employed as a U.S. Storekeeper and Gauger, and his wife was Florence H. Berry; George, his wife, and R.T. all lived at 1711 W. Chestnut Street; their mother, Mollie Berry, was still living in Glasgow, KY. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37Your History Online VII; and the Kentucky Reporter at the UK National Digital Newspaper Program website.
Subjects: Businesses, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky / Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky / Allensville, Todd County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bickerstaff, Bernard T., Sr. "Bernie"
Birth Year : 1944
Bernie Bickerstaff was born in Benham, KY. At the age of 25, he was head coach at the University of San Diego, the youngest college coach in the U.S. at that time. He went on to become the youngest assistant coach in NBA history when he joined the Washington Bullets [now the Washington Wizards] at the age of 29. From 1985-1990, Bickerstaff was head coach of the Seattle SuperSonics [in 2008 became the Oklahoma City Thunder]; he was the first African American from Kentucky to be named a head coach in the NBA [the second was Wes Unseld and the third was Dwane Casey]. Bickerstaff was president and general manager of the Denver Nuggets from 1990-1997. In 2004, he was named general manager of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats, becoming the team's first coach; he returned as the head coach for the 2006-2007 season. Bickerstaff ranks 33rd on the NBA's winningest coaches list. Bernie Bickerstaff Boulevard in Benham is named in his honor. For more see Who's Who in America, 45th-48th ed.; Who's Who in the West, 22nd -24th ed.; and Bernie Bickerstaff, an NBA Coaches website.

See photo image and coaching stats for Bernie Bickerstaff at Basketball-Reference.com.
Subjects: Basketball, Businesses
Geographic Region: Benham, Harlan County, Kentucky / Charlotte, North Carolina

Birch, Ernest O. and Edward E. [Birch Bros.]
The Birch brothers, Ernest (1884-1951) and Edward (1887-1974), were born in Winchester, KY. They were the youngest two sons of Jane and Samuel Birch, who was a barber. Their oldest brother was Arthur Birch, he was a hotel porter, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. The family of five lived at 125 E. Third Street in Winchester. Ernest and Edward Birch would go on to create a partnership in 1908 known as Birch Brothers, an architecture business in Cincinnati, OH. They were not licensed in Ohio, but are recognized as two of the earliest African American architects in the city. Ernest Birch was a graduate of Kentucky Normal and Industrial Institute for Colored Persons [now Kentucky State University], where he first studied to become a teacher, and later switched to carpentry. Edward Birch studied architecture engineering at Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute [now Hampton University]. According to the 1910 census, the two brothers were managing their business and were lodgers at the home of William and Eliza Ford on West Canal Street [Eliza Ford was b.1867 in KY]. By 1920, Ernest was the husband of Corenna Birch, b.1891 in KY, and she is also listed as Ernest's wife on his WWII Draft Registration Card in 1942, a period when Ernest was employed by the Rubel Baking Company. He is listed as an architect at 3146 Gaff Avenue in the 1946 William's Cincinnati (Ohio) City Directory. Also in 1920, Edward Birch was the husband of Susie B. Whittaker, b.1890 in KY, and Edward was employed as a Pullman Porter. The couple and Susie's sister lived on Mountfort Street in Cincinnati. Edward Birch was previously married to Eva Downey, b.1890 in KY, and they had a son named Augustine E. Birch, b.1908 in KY. The couple divorced in 1916, and Eva and her son Augustine are listed as living in Winchester, KY in the 1910 census and 1930 census. Edward Birch is listed as a draftsman at 1123 Yale Avenue in the 1936-1937 William's Cincinnati Directory. He is credited for designing the Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church. For more see the Ernest Octavius Birch entry and the Edward Eginton Birch entry, both in African American Architects, 1865-1945 edited by D. S. Wilson.
Subjects: Architects, Barbers, Businesses, Migration North, Pullman Porters
Geographic Region: Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Black Horsemen
The history of Black horsemen, many of whom were from Bourbon County, KY, is being collected and displayed. The Butler Family from North Middletown, KY, has developed the website Back in Black: A History of Black Horsemen in the Twentieth Century for the gathering and sharing of information, including photos of many of the men. There is also the 2007 exhibit at the American Saddlebred Museum in Lexington, KY, Out of the Shadows: Bringing to Light Black Horsemen in Saddlebred History. A DVD by the same title is available for purchase at the American Saddlebred Museum. For more information see L. Muhammad, "Show heralds achievements of Black trainers," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 02/05/2007, Features section, p. 1E; Exhibition Honoring Black Horsemen Set to Open, 02/03/2007, a Kentucky.gov website; and African American Horsemen of Bourbon County included in American Saddlebred Museum Exhibit [.pdf], 02/10/2005, a Kentucky Horse Park news release.
Subjects: Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: North Middletown, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Black, Isaac E.
Birth Year : 1848
Death Year : 1914
Issac Black grew up in Covington, KY. He served as the law librarian and janitor at the Kenton County Courthouse from 1869-1874. It is not known what library training Black received; he was paid only for being the janitor. He had considered suing the Law Library Association for $2,500, the wages he felt he was owed for the five years he served as a librarian. Black would go on to become a lawyer after being mentored by Lt. Governor John G. Carlisle, teaming up with Nathaniel Harper to form the first African American law firm in Kentucky, Harper & Black, located in Louisville. For more see T. H. H. Harris, "Creating windows of opportunity: Isaac E. Black and the African American Experience in Kentucky," The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, vol. 98, issue 2 (2000), pp. 155-177.
Subjects: Businesses, Lawyers, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Black Owned Businesses in Kentucky
This 2006 online publication [.pdf] was compiled by the Office of Research and Information Technology General Research Branch at the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.   
Subjects: Businesses, Resources Dedicated to Kentucky African Americans [Statewide]
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Blakeley, Mary W.
Mary Wylie Blakeley owned a restaurant and was one of the early African American women business owners in Paducah, KY. The Wiley Family Papers, 1893-1982, are held in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Manuscripts Department. The collection contains mainly photographs with quite a few of Mary Wiley Blakeley; there is also a photo of her restaurant, dated 1900. For more see the Wylie Family Papers.
Subjects: Businesses
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Bond, Howard H.
Birth Year : 1938
Howard H. Bond, a consulting firm executive, was born in Stanford, KY, to Frederick D. and Edna G. Coleman Bond. He is a 1965 graduate of Eastern Michigan University (BA) and a 1974 graduate of Pace University (MBA). He has worked with a number of companies, including Ford Motor Company, where he was a labor supervisor; Xerox Corp., as a personnel manager; and Playboy Enterprises, Inc., as a vice president. He was also a council member candidate for the city of Cincinnati in 2003. Today he is managing director of the Phoenix Executech Group, having founded the company in 1977. And he is chairman and CEO of Bond Promotions and Apparel Co. in the Over-the-Rhine area of Cincinnati. Bond is also a community activist and educator. He has taught leadership and social responsibility classes at Northern Kentucky University and is a former elected member of the Cincinnati Board of Education. He has also served as president of the African American Political Caucus of Cincinnati and is a founding member of the Cincinnati Chapter of the 100 Black Men of America, Inc. Bond is also a 33rd degree Mason, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and a number of other organizations. He has received a number of awards. Bond is a U.S. Army veteran. For more see "Five receive Lions awards from Urban League," The Cincinnati Enquirer, 02/12/2006, Metro section, p. 5B; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1990-2006.

See photo image and additional information about Howard H. Bond at the 2003 smartvoter.org website.
Subjects: Businesses, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Fraternal Organizations, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Stanford, Lincoln County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Botts, Henry [Bason]
Birth Year : 1859
Death Year : 1946
Henry Botts owned the first funeral home for African Americans in Montgomery County, KY, according to the Montgomery County Kentucky Bicentennial, 1774-1974, pp. 12-13. Henry Botts was a city councilman in Mt. Sterling, KY, in 1902, the year his wife, Sarah Davis Botts, died [source: "Deaths," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 11/26/1902, p. 7]. The couple had married in 1897, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, and both had children from their previous marriages: Henry's children, George Anne Botts, 14, and Callie May Botts, 9; and Sarah's daughter, Roberta Hammons, 6, and the son she had by Henry, Gunoa Hensley Botts, 2. Sarah Botts was buried in Olive Hill Cemetery in Mt. Sterling. She had been a school teacher in Bath, Bourbon, Clark, and Montgomery Counties, KY. Henry Botts next married Emma Oldham Botts, and they had a daughter named Fannie [source: 1910 U.S. Federal Census]. Henry Botts was a politician and a businessman. He and Peter Hensley were owners of the Montgomery Grocery Company [source: second notice under "Holiday presents," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 12/10/1901, p. 7]. In 1905, Henry Botts was selected to be the Montgomery County Coroner Republican candidate at the Montgomery County Republicans Convention; the selection was not well received by some in Montgomery County and nearby counties, and Botts declined the position, but his name remained on the straight ticket [source: articles in The Mt. Sterling Advocate, 08/30/1905 - "Republicans in convention," p. 2, "Notice," p. 3, and "The Negro and politics," 09/20/1905, p. 2]. By 1913, Henry Botts was one of two African American City Council members in Mt. Sterling, the other being Sanford Juett, who retired and was replaced by E. W. Stockton, also an African American [source: "Winchester's hysteria," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 12/10/1913, p. 8]. Botts and Stockton were councilmen of the third ward. Henry Botts retired as a councilman in 1919 [source: "Retired councilmen," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 12/22/1919, p. 17]. In 1914, Henry Botts had been one of the men from the C.M.E. Church to sign his name to a letter to the editor of the Mt. Sterling Advocate in an attempt to keep the peace between the races; there had supposedly been an earlier letter written by a colored person threatening harm to Mt. Sterling police in retaliation for the mistreatment of colored persons by members of the police force [source: "A letter from colored citizens," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 01/28/1914, p. 8]. By 1922, Henry Botts was having health problems and had to have one of his legs amputated below the knee [source: "A Correction," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 05/12/1921, p. 4]. The following year he was an elections officer while serving as an elections judge of the 3rd ward in Mt. Sterling [source: "Election officers," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 08/03/1992, p. 1]. According to his Kentucky death certificate (#27217), Henry Botts was born in Bath County, KY, on February 26, 1859, the son of Caroline Botts and Joseph Sunthimer. Henry Botts died December 19, 1946. Henry's mother, Caroline Botts, born around 1825 in Kentucky, was a free mulatto woman living in Bath County in 1850, according to the U.S. Federal Census, and she is listed in the 1870 Census with a son Henry's age, but with the name Bason [or Boson] Botts.
Subjects: Businesses, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries
Geographic Region: Bath County, Kentucky / Mt. Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky

Boyd, Henry
Birth Year : 1802
Death Year : 1866
Henry Boyd, who was born a slave in Kentucky, was an inventor, carpenter, and a master mechanic. He invented the corded bed - The Boyd Bedstead. His profits from his carpentry work also allowed him to buy his own and his family's freedom. In 1843 he was among the most successful furniture makers in Cincinnati, Ohio. For more see The Mis-education of the Negro, by C. G. Woodson; Created Equal, by J. M. Brodie; C. G. Woodson, "The Negroes of Cincinnati prior to the Civil War," The Journal of Negro History, vol. 1, issue 1 (Jan. 1916), p. 21; and History of the Negro Race in America, 1619-1880 by G. W. Williams.
Subjects: Businesses, Inventors, Migration North, Carpenters, Mechanics and Mechanical Engineering
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Bradley, Mollie McFarland [Midway Colored School]
Birth Year : 1933
Mollie M. Bradley is a historian and writer who was born in Jefferson City, TN, the daughter of Leroy and Emma Cunningham McFarland. She is past matron of Cecelia Dunlap Grand Chapter, O.E.S., P.H.A. She is the author of A Bright Star: a biography of Cecelia Dunlap, and she wrote several articles for the Order of Eastern Star publication The Phyllis Magazine. The magazine is the voice of the Phyllis Chapter of the Phylaxis Society, PHA Inc., which was organized in 1983, and Mollie Bradley served as the first executive secretary. The Phyllis Chapter of the Phylaxis Society, PHA Inc. researches and studies the history of the Prince Hall Eastern Stars. Mollie Bradley is also a contributing writer for The Woodford Sun during Black History Month; her husband had been the Black History Month contributing writer, and after he died in 2004, Mollie Bradley took over the writing of the articles. Though born in Tennessee, Mollie Bradley was raised in Bourbon County, KY, by her aunt and uncle, Jennie P. Harris and Reverend James C. Harris, pastor of Zion Baptist Church [previously part of the African Baptist Church] in Paris, KY. Mollie Bradley is a graduate of Western High School in Paris, KY, and Central State University, where she majored in journalism. She was the wife of the late Walter T. Bradley, Jr. from Midway, KY; they owned the first laundrette in that city. Customers could leave laundry to be cleaned and folded, and the laundry would be ready to be picked up later in the day. Customers could also do their own laundry. Three washers and three dryers were available with a cost of 25 cents per wash load and 10 cents per dry cycle. The laundrette was located in the building that the couple owned and lived in, which had been the Midway Colored School, located in Hadensville from 1911-1954. The school had grades 1-8. Prior to being used as a school, the building was home to the Colored Baptist Church [later named Pilgrim Baptist Church], which had 900 members. The church building was constructed in 1872 by the Lehman Brothers, a German Company. The congregation outgrew the building and it was sold to Woodford County in 1911 to be used as the Colored School. In 1936, it was sold to the Midway Board of Education and became the Midway Elementary School for Colored children. In 1954, the school was closed and the children were bused to Simmons School in Versailles, KY. The Bradleys purchased the school building in 1959. They leased space within the building to a number of businesses, including a beauty shop and a shoe shop. There had also been a lodge hall, lodge offices, and apartments. Mollie Bradley also taught piano lessons; her mission was to provide lessons to those who wanted to learn but could not afford piano lessons. Her husband, Walter T. Bradley, Jr., and their sons also played the piano. On June 25, 2011, the Midway Colored School was honored with a Kentucky Historical Society Marker. Mollie M. Bradley is a member of the Midway Women's Club. For more information read the press release, KHS to Dedicate Historical Marker to Honor Midway Colored School, 06/13/ 2011, a Kentucky.gov web page.

Access Interview Read about the Mollie M. Bradley oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.

Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Communities, Cosmetologists, Beauty Shops, Hairdressers, Beauty Supplies, Historians, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Kentucky African American Churches, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Women's Groups and Organizations, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Jefferson City, Tennessee / Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Hadensville in MIdway, Woodford County, Kentucky

Bradley, Walter T., Jr.
Birth Year : 1925
Death Year : 2004
Walter Thomas Bradley, Jr. was born in Midway, KY, to Walter T. Sr. and Sarah J. Craig Bradley. He was an Army veteran and in 1977 became the first African American on the Midway City Council. Bradley served on the council for 24 years. He was a past Grand Secretary of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge F. & A.M. of Kentucky, and was editor of the lodge's newspaper Masonic Herald. Bradley was employed at Avon Army Depot where he was an electrical engineer inspector. He was the husband of Mollie McFarland Bradley, and the couple owned and lived in the building that had housed the Midway Colored School. Walter Bradley had been a student in the school, and purchased the building in 1959. He and his father did all of the repair work. Bradley and his wife leased space within the building to a number of businesses, including a beauty shop and a shoe shop, and there was a lodge hall, and apartments. The couple were owners of the first laundrette in Midway. The building was also home to the offices of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge F. & A.M. during Walter Bradley's tenure as grand secretary. Walter T. Bradley, Jr. was also a member of a male singing group from Midway, KY called the "Five Royalties of Song." He was a piano player, as is his wife and their sons. He was a contributor writer for The Woodford Sun newspaper during Black History Month. His wife, Mollie Bradley, continues to write articles each year. In 1989, Walter T. Bradley, Jr. was the first African American deacon at the Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, KY. The Walter Bradley Memorial Park in Midway, KY is named in his honor. For more see "Middlesboro city councilwoman top vote-getter," in 1988 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Seventh Report, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, p. 28; W. Bradley, "Black Free Masonry's Founder Never a Slave," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/25/2002, Commentary section, p. A8; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1988-2004.

Access Interview Read about the Walter T. Bradley oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
 
Subjects: Businesses, Cosmetologists, Beauty Shops, Hairdressers, Beauty Supplies, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Military & Veterans, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Fraternal Organizations, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky

Brazley, Michael D.
Birth Year : 1951
Brazley was born in Louisville, KY, to William and Gwendolyn Brazley. He is a graduate of the Howard University School of Architecture, and the University of Louisville School of Urban and Public Affairs (Ph.D.). Brazley is an assistant professor in the School of Architecture at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He is author of the article "Moving toward gender and racial inclusion in the design profession," which is part of an ongoing longitudinal study that Brazley presented at the 2006 Diversity Conference in New Orleans. For almost 20 years Brazley has also been the President and CEO of Brazley & Brazley, Inc., located in Louisville, KY. He is a licensed architect in Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. Brazley has received a number of awards, including the Minority Service Firm of the Year. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1994-2006; M. Brazley, "Moving toward gender and racial inclusion in the design profession," The International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations, vol. 6, issue 3, pp. 9-18; and An Evaluation of Residential Satisfaction of HOPE VI: a study of the Park DuValle Revitalization Project (thesis) by M. Brazley.
Subjects: Architects, Authors, Businesses
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Carbondale, Illinois

Breckinridge, Thomas, and Holmes - Undertakers (Xenia, OH)
Start Year : 1902
In 1902, three former teachers from Kentucky opened an undertaking business in Xenia, OH. One of the owners, Prof. A. W. Breckinridge (b. 1863 in Kentucky), had served as principal of the Colored schools in Midway, KY, for 17 years and was a former president of the Kentucky Colored Teachers Association [later named the Kentucky Negro Educational Association (KNEA)]. His wife, Annie, was a teacher at the school. Breckinridge had also owned a grocery store in Midway. A second owner, J. D. Thomas, had been a teacher in Kentucky colored schools for 20 years. He was the former assistant secretary of the Colored Fair Association of Bourbon County. The third owner, F. E. Holmes, had also taught school in Kentucky, but had left for employment with the U.S. Revenue Service. He was a graduate of the School of Embalming in Cincinnati. For more see "Interesting Doings in Colored Society," [Xenia] Daily Gazette, 07/03/1902, p. 2.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Colored Fairs & Black Expos, Migration North, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries
Geographic Region: Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky / Xenia, Ohio

Bridgeman, Ulysses "Junior"
Birth Year : 1953
Ulysses Bridgeman was born in East Chicago, Indiana. Bridgeman was a 1975 graduate of the University of Louisville, where the 6' 5" forward played for Coach Denny Crum's Cardinals; in 1972 the Cardinals were ranked 4th in the country and played in the Final Four. In 1975 Bridgeman was drafted 8th in the first round by the Los Angeles Lakers and then traded to the Milwaukee Bucks. Bridgeman finished his career with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1988 and his jersey was retired. He holds the team record for most games played. Today, Bridgeman is owner of more than 150 Wendy's Restaurants, including several in Louisville, KY; it is one of the largest Wendy's franchises in the U.S. In 2003 Bridgeman was named chairman of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees. For more see Basketball biographies: 434 U.S. players, coaches and contributors to the game, 1891-1990, by M. Taragano and M. Pitsch; "Bridgeman likely to lead trustees," Courier Journal, 08/29/03; and P. King, "Former NBA star scores on Wendy's team," Nation's Restaurant News, vol. 38, issue 34, p. 70.

See photo image and additional information about Ulysses Bridgeman at Forbes.com.
Subjects: Basketball, Businesses
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / East Chicago, Indiana

Brim, John
Birth Year : 1922
Death Year : 2003
John Brim was born in Hopkinsville, KY. He taught himself to play the guitar and the harmonica. In 1941 he moved to Indianapolis, then on to Chicago. Brim owned a dry cleaning business and a record store in Chicago. He was also a blues vocalist, song writer, and guitarist. He worked with "Sonny Boy" Williamson, Muddy Waters, and others. Brim had a number of recordings in the 1950s; his songs include Be Careful, Ice Cream Man, and Tough Times. His wife was Grace Brim (1924-1999), blues drummer and vocalist. John Brim played at the 1997 Chicago Bluesfest. In 2000 he performed on the album Jake's Blues. For more see Blues Who's Who, by S. Harris; and R. K. Elder, "Simplicity, eloquence shaped bluesman's style," Chicago Tribune, 10/08/2003, Obituaries section, p. 10. 

See photo image and additional information about John Brim at website by Hiroshi 'Edogawa Slim' Takahashi.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinios

Brock, Richard
Birth Year : 1824
Death Year : 1906
Richard Brock, born a slave in Kentucky, was given as a wedding present to the daughter of his master. The daughter moved to Houston, Texas, and brought Brock with her. Brock would become a leader in the Houston community: he owned a blacksmith business and became a land owner, he helped found two churches, and had part ownership of the Olivewood Cemetery. The cemetery was the first for African Americans within the Houston city limits. In 1870, Brock became the first African American Aldermen in the Houston city government. Brock is listed as a mulatto in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, and he and his wife Eliza (b.1837 in Alabama) were the parents of five children. They would have five more children. Richard Brock was co-founder of the first masonic lodge in Houston for African Americans and he helped found Emancipation Park. In 1900, Richard Brock was a widow living with three of his daughters and two grandchildren. The Richard Brock Elementary School in downtown Houston is named in his honor. For more see "Exhibit honors former slaves who emerged as pathfinders,"Houston Chronicle, 02/08/1987, Lifestyle section, p. 1.

See photo image and additional information about Richard Brock at Texas Trail Blazers, a Defender Network.com website.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Migration West, Parks, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Religion & Church Work, Blacksmiths, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Houston, Texas

Brooks, Charles H.
Birth Year : 1859
Death Year : 1940
Charles H. Brooks was born in Paducah, KY. A lawyer, businessman, and writer, Brooks wrote the official history of the Odd Fellows Fraternity and was a delegate to the International Conference of Odd Fellows in Europe in 1900. He was educated in the Colored school in Paducah [info NKAA entry], and after finishing his studies in 1876, he became a teacher at the school. He taught for five years, and was then named the school principal. While he was principal of the school, Brooks became a member of the Paducah Odd Fellows Lodge No. 1545. He served as secretary and was influential in the building of the Colored Odd Fellows Lodge in Paducah [info NKAA entry]. Brooks was State Treasurer, he was secretary of the B. M. C. and was Grand Director at Atlanta, GA. On the national level, he was Grand Auditor. Brooks' work with the Odd Fellows was also during the time he was Secretary of the Republican County Committee in Paducah, and Secretary of the First Sunday School Convention and Baptist Association. In 1889, he successfully passed the civil service exam, and Brooks left Kentucky to become a clerk at the Pension Bureau Office in Washington, D.C. While in D.C. he attended Spencerian Business College, completing a course in bookkeeping. Brooks left his job in D.C. and entered law school at Howard University where he completed his LL.B in 1892, which was also the year that he was elected Grand Secretary of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows. As a lawyer, Brooks gained admission to practice before the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. He left D.C. in 1892 to work full time at the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows Office in Philadelphia, PA. He was there for ten years, and led the effort to pay off all debts, sustained a surplus of $50,000, and established a printing press and the publishing of a weekly journal. Brooks traveled extensively throughout the U.S. to visit the various Odd Fellows lodges. He also traveled to England; the Colored Odd Fellows dispensations came from England, and they were the only Colored organization with a regular affiliation to the English fraternity. When Charles Brooks retired from the Odd Fellows Office in Philadelphia, he operated a real estate and insurance office. He continued to be active in organizations such as the National Negro Business League, Gibson's New Standard Theater, Model Storage Company, and he was secretary of the Reliable Mutual Aid and Improvement Society, all in Philadelphia. He is author of The Official History of the First African Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pa., published in 1922. Charles H. Brooks was the husband of Matilda Mansfield Brooks (1862-1945, born in KY). The couple married on August 24, 1880 in Paducah, KY [source: Kentucky Marriages Index]. Both are buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Paducah, KY [source: Find A Grave website]. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; The Official History and Manual of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows in America, by C. H. Brooks; Who's Who in Colored America, 1928-29; "Charles H. Brooks," Freeman, 10/10/1896, p.5; and "Out of the depths," The Colored American, 09/19/1903, p.1.
Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Education and Educators, Historians, Lawyers, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Washington, D.C. / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Brown, Clara
Birth Year : 1803
Death Year : 1885
Clara Brown was born in Virginia. She and her three children were sold separately, and Clara was brought to Kentucky. She purchased her freedom in 1858 and moved to Missouri before moving on to Colorado, where she became involved in several business ventures, including opening a laundry and investing in mines. Brown profited from her investments and returned to the east to bring 34 of her relatives out west. Much later she was able to find only one of her children. For more see The Book of African American Women: 150 Crusaders, Creators, and Uplifters, by T. Bolden.

See photo image of Clara Brown at Wikipedia.
Subjects: Businesses, Freedom, Migration West
Geographic Region: Virginia / Kentucky

Brown, Edward Hall
Birth Year : 1861
Death Year : 1946
Edward H. Brown was born in Henderson County, KY. He owned his own blacksmith business, beginning in 1898. Brown also owned a number of homes and held stock in mercantile interests and organizations. He was a member of the National Horseshoers Association and the Henderson Blacksmiths Association. He was the son of Michael and Susan Agnes Watson Brown. Michael Brown was also a leading blacksmith in Henderson, KY, and his son Edward learned the trade from his father. Edward H. Brown was the husband of Emma B. Coleman Brown (b.1883 in Louisville, KY) and after her death, he was married to Mary B. Brown [source: 1940 U.S. Federal Census]. Edward H. Brown made his home at 935 Clay Street in Henderson, KY, and his blacksmith shop was located at 422 First Street. He and Emma had five children: Michael, Rose, Lelia, Susan, and Andrew. Edward H. Brown died August 30, 1946 in Henderson, KY. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915.
Subjects: Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Blacksmiths
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky

Brown, James and Bridgett
In 2006, the husband and wife team of James, born 1970 in Chicago, and Bridgett, born 1973 in Louisville, KY, opened Brown's Bakery in Lexington, KY. James Brown has been a retail manager at Morrison Healthcare Food Services, and he was employed at Kroger and the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea. Brown's Bakery is not the first African American owned bakery in the city, but it is a continuation of a long history of African American bakeries and bakers dating back to the 1800s. Author John D. Wright mentions in his book that there was a black-owned bakery in Lexington between 1870-1880. In 1901, Charles H. Allen, a baker and confectioner who owned his own business, was included in the Negro Business League's 2nd Convention report given by Dr. L. D. Robinson on Lexington businesses. Brown's Bakery, located on Leestown Road, was the most recent African American owned bakery in Lexington. In 2011, the bakery moved to Versailles Road in Lexington, KY. James Brown received his culinary degree from the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (CHIC). For more see S. Thompson, "I yam what I yam," Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/05/2006, A La Carte section, p. J1; Sweet Treats, on Connections with Renee Shaw, video #441 [available online]; and visit brownsbakery.com. For more about earlier bakers see Lexington, heart of the Bluegrass, by J. D. Wright. See also Kentucky bakers entry in the NKAA.
Subjects: Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Brown, Jesse E. "Doc"
Birth Year : 1856
Jesse E. Brown, a doctor in Louisville, KY, was the city's first African American businessman and insurance agent. For more see Kentucky's Black Heritage, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Medical Field, Health Care
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Brown, Lee L.
Birth Year : 1879
Death Year : 1948
Lee L. Brown was born in Spring Station, KY. He was owner of a stenography school in Louisville, KY, and also owned Brown's Leather Shop. Brown was a correspondent for Dobson's News Service and editor and an organizer of the Louisville News. He was a representative of the Negro Press Association of Chicago. Brown was a two-time candidate for the Kentucky State Legislature, once in 1913 and again in 1935. Lee L. Brown was the son of Richard and Lucy Alexander Brown [source: 1910 U.S. Federal Census; and Lee L. Brown's Kentucky Death Certificate]. He was the husband of Etta C. Brown [source: 1930 U.S. Federal Census]. The couple last lived at 1014 West Chestnut Street in Louisville. Lee L. Brown died at the Louisville Red Cross Hospital on August 17, 1948. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915; and Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Spring Station, Woodford County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Brown, Phil H.
Birth Year : 1872
Death Year : 1923
Phil H. Brown was the appointed Commissioner of Conciliation in the U.S. Department of Labor, Division of Negro Economics. News of his appointment was listed under the heading of "Politics" in M. G. Allison's article "The Horizon" in The Crisis, June 1921, vol.22, issue 2, whole number 128, p.80 [available online at Google Book Search]. The Division of Negro Economics was established in 1918 to mobilize Negro workers and address their issues during WWI. The program came about after much pressure from Negro leaders. It was the first program to assist Negro workers and acted as an informal employment agency. George Haynes, of the Urban League, was named director and continued at the post until the program was discontinued in 1921, when Haynes left the office. Phil H. Brown replaced Haynes in 1921 with the new title of Commissioner of Conciliation. He was assigned the task of making a special study of Negro migration to the North and the cause of the migration. Brown delivered an address on his findings at the International Labor Conference in Toronto, Canada. Brown continued to serve as the Commissioner of Conciliation until his sudden death in November 1923. He died of a heart attack at his home, 1326 Riggs St. N.W in Washington, D.C. Funeral services were conducted at Brown's home by Rev. J. C. Olden and Rev. T. J. Brown. Phil H. Brown's body was sent to Hopkinsville, KY, for burial; he considered the city to be his home town. Brown was born in Ironton, OH, and he had previously lived in Washington, D. C. while working at the Government Printing Office (GPO). He then moved to Hopkinsville, KY, where he was a Republican leader. He was employed by the Republican National Committee during the presidential elections from 1908-1920. Brown was also an associate of W. C. Handy; he wrote a commentary that accompanied Handy's 1922 published sheet music "John Henry Blues." [Handy's first wife, Elizabeth, was a Kentucky native.] Phil H. Brown was also a recognized journalist and publisher in Kentucky; Brown had owned a printing company located at Tenth and Chestnut Streets in Hopkinsville. He was editor of the newspaper Major in 1902 and the Morning News in 1903. He also published the Saturday News. Brown had an association with the Chicago Daily News, The New York Journal, and the New York Sun. He also wrote articles for many other publications. In 1916, Brown's printing company published the book The Awakening of Hezekiah Jones by J. E. Bruce. Phil H. Brown was married to Dorothea "Dolly" R. Brown, b.1872 in Pennsylvania, and died in 1924. Prior to their second move to Washington, D.C., the couple had lived on North Liberty Street in Hopkinsville, according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. For more see A History of Christian County Kentucky from Oxcart to Airplane by C. M. Meacham; Colored Girls and Boys Inspiring United States History and a Heart to Heart Talk About White Folks by W. H. Harrison, Jr.; "Phil H. Brown dies suddenly in Washington," The Afro American, 12/07/1923, p.1; and U.S. Department of Labor Historian, J. MacLaury, "The Federal Government and Negro Workers Under President Woodrow Wilson," paper delivered at the Annual Meeting of the Society for History in the Federal Government, 03/16/2000, Washington, D.C. [available online].
Subjects: Businesses, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Migration South, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Ironton, Ohio / Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Washington, D.C.

Burks, Juanita P.
Birth Year : 1920
Juanita P. Farley Burks is the daughter of Donna and Allen Farley of Crittenden County, KY. Ms. Burks is head of J. P. Burks Construction, Inc., a Louisville, KY, glass company she started in 1980. She is one of the leading African American women entrepreneurs in Kentucky, having served on President Carter's board of energy and, in the 1970s, was nominated by Kentucky Governor Julian Carroll to go to Washington, D.C. to help develop a federal energy policy. Burks attended Kentucky State College in the early 1940s and took business courses at the University of Louisville. In 1974, she borrowed money (for the first and last time) through a $6,000 home loan to start her first company, City Plaza, a personnel recruitment service. Burks' glass company was formed in 1980; she won a contract to install glass in the downtown Louisville Galleria, where her company put the floors down and installed $4.5 million worth of glass. Burks had worked as a maid and elevator operator in that same building when she first came to Louisville in 1942, earning $17 per week. In 1983, Burks was named Woman of Achievement, and, in 1996, Kentucky Entrepreneur of the Year. Juanita P. Burks is the mother of Ishmon Burks, Jr. For more see M. Green, "83-year-old loves business," Courier-Journal, 10/01/2003; and C. Carlton, "Faith & fashion," Courier-Journal, 04/16/2006, Arts section, p.1I.
Subjects: Businesses, Construction, Contractors, Builders, Mothers, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents
Geographic Region: Crittenden County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Burley, James M.
Birth Year : 1854
James M. Burley was probably one of the first African American jewelers in Georgetown, Louisville, and Paris, KY. His business opened in 1872 in Georgetown. Burley was listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census as an unmarried watchmaker; he did marry at some point after 1880. Burley moved his business to Louisville in 1885, then to Paris, KY, sometime after 1897. He is listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census as divorced and living on 8th Street in Paris, KY. His specialty was gold and silver plating. Burley's work was exhibited at the New Orleans World's Exposition in 1884 [source: Scott County Kentucky: a history edited by L. Apple, F. A. Johnston, and B. Bevins, p. 220]. James M. Burley was born in Frankfort, KY. He was an 1890 valedictorian graduate of the Normal Class at State University [later Simmons College]. For more see the "James M. Burley" entry in Weeden's History of The Colored People of Louisville, by H. C. Weeden.
Subjects: Businesses, Jewelers, Watchmakers
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Burns, Tommie, Jr.
Birth Year : 1933
Tommie Burns, Jr. came to Louisville, KY, from Mississippi when he was 18 years old, taking a job as a molder at the American Standard plant. While still holding his day job, Burns began cleaning Bacon's department store at night, soon hiring a crew and cleaning all of the Bacon's stores in Shively (a west-end Louisville suburb). Burns eventually quit his day job, incorporating Burns Janitor Service in 1975. He continued to develop other businesses and by 1992, Burns Enterprises had revenues of $17 million. The company consisted of almost 500 employees in six businesses: janitor service, roller rink, chemical and supply, food marts, rigging, and packing, with operations in Kentucky, Maine, New York, Georgia, and Tennessee. In 1992, Burns was the 69-year-old chairman of T&WA Inc., a company that mounts tires and wheels for automakers. The company, then 7 years old, had about $500 million in revenues. In 2001, T&WA Inc. was selected as the Minority Business of the Year at the Greater Louisville Inc.'s Annual Dinner. Tommie Burns, Jr. is the son of Tommie, Sr. and Rosetta Burns [source: 1940 U.S. Federal Census]. For more see T. R. Hill, "Sensible Chance Paid Off," Lexington Herald-Leader, 04/03/1994, Business section, p.3; R. Redding, "Entrepreneur 'Burns' up latest automotive niche. 'Janitor' lands $50 million assembly job at Toyota," bizjournals.com (from 06/20/1997 print edition); and Y. Markstaff, "Wheeling Dealing," Courier-Journal, 09/16/2002, Business section, p. 01C.
Subjects: Businesses
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Butler, Darraugh Clay
Birth Year : 1955
Butler was born in Paducah, KY, to Theodore M. and Mary E. Glore. She is president of D. Butler Management Consulting in Cincinnati, OH. Butler founded the company in 1996 to encourage economic inclusion of minority- and women-owned businesses with the corporate and government sector. Butler's company is tops in the region for economic inclusion and has garnered a number of awards. In 2004, a second consulting office was opened in the Atlanta, GA area. For more see W. Hicks, "D. Butler Management Consulting delivers economic inclusion results," 09/04/2007, at North College Hill News at Cincinnati.com; G. Verna, "Small businesses made team at ballpark project," Business Courier of Cincinnati, 09/19/2003, online at bizjournals.com; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1994-2000.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration North
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio / Atlanta, Georgia

Cabell, Aaron H.
Birth Year : 1855
Death Year : 1915
Aaron H. Cabell was born in Henderson, KY, he was the slave of John B. Cabell. He was related to the Cabell pharmacists - Atwood, Roger, and Delmo. Aaron Cabell established a grocery store in Henderson in 1874 and a mercantile store in 1915. He owned a good deal of stock and property in Henderson, including the estate of Jacob Held and Held Park, which was renamed Cabell Park. He was a delegate to the Republican Convention in Chicago in 1888. Aaron was a brother of George Cabell, and according to the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, they were two of the six or more children of Harriet (b.1823) and James Cabell (b.1820). Aaron Cabell married Amanda Rucker on September 23, 1875, according to the Kentucky Marriage Records. For more see "Mr. Aaron H. Cabell," The Colored American, 11/01/1902, p.5 [article online at Chronicling America]; Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915; and "Henderson, Kentucky," Records of the National Negro Business League, Part 1 Annual Conference Proceedings and Organizational Records, 1900-1919, First Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts, August 23-24, 1900, reel 1, frames 164-165 [also available online at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Businesses, Parks
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky

Cabell, George C.
Birth Year : 1860
George Cabell was born in Henderson, KY. He was a brother of Aaron Cabell, for whom he drove a grocery wagon. George acquired his own grocery and general merchandise business in 1895. He was still managing his store in 1920, according to the U.S. Federal Census. He was also director of the Cemetery and Burial Company in Henderson. George C. Cabell was married to Lovenia Dixon Cabell. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915.
Subjects: Businesses, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky

Campbell, Charles
Birth Year : 1922
Death Year : 2000
Campbell, born in Covington, KY, later moved to Buffalo, NY, where he was the first African American car salesman at Mernan Chevrolet and the first to manage a General Tire store; he later retired from General Mills. He was an Army veteran and served during World War II, obtaining the rank of corporal. After serving in the Army, Campbell returned to New York and earned an industrial relations degree from the University of Buffalo, Millard Fillmore College. He was a founding member of the Delta Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity at the University of Buffalo. For more see "Charles Campbell," Buffalo News, 03/13/2000, News section, p. 6A.
Subjects: Automobile Dealerships and Factories, Businesses, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Buffalo, New York

Cannon, Frank R., Sr.
Birth Year : 1916
Death Year : 1988
Frank R, Cannon, Sr. was born in Jessamine County, KY, the son of Lizzie and Simon Cannon. The family owned a farm on Lexington Pike in Keene, KY. Frank Cannon was the first African American member of the Jessamine County (KY) Board of Education. He was an educator and had served as principal of Rosenwald-Dunbar School in Jessamine County, and was later principal of the Lincoln Heights School System in Ohio. He would become superintendent of the school system, before leaving Lincoln Heights to teach in the Cincinnati School System. Cannon returned to Kentucky and was president of the Jessamine County Retired Teachers Association, before becoming president-elect of the Central Kentucky Retired Teachers Association. He was also Master of Central Lodge #91 F. & A.M. of Nicholasville. He owned Cannon's Fixit Shop, Inc. Frank R. Cannon, Sr. was a graduate of Kentucky State University and the University of Kentucky; he was one of the first 17 African American teachers to attend UK. He was the husband of Ora Belle Hamilton, who was a school teacher. For more see "Frank R. Cannon, Sr." entry in A History of Jessamine County, Kentucky edited by R. Fain; and "17 blacks are local school board members," in 1978 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Fifth Report, by the Commission on Human Rights, p. 26.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Fraternal Organizations, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Keene, Jessamine County, Kentucky / Lincoln Heights, Ohio

Carpenter, Eliza
Birth Year : 1849
Death Year : 1924
She was known as Aunt Eliza, the only Colored race horse owner in Oklahoma, her real name was Eliza Carpenter. She had been a slave, born in Virginia, sold to a Kentucky master at age six, and sold again at age eight to a Missouri planter. Carpenter gained her freedom at the end of the Civil War and returned to Madisonville, KY, where she learned the business of buying, training, and riding race horses. She then moved to Kansas where she purchased several horses, and would move on to Ponca City, Oklahoma where she shared her home with a boarder, Athather Johnson, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. Carpenter's occupation is given as a trader of livestock. She had come to Ponca City when the Cherokee Strip was opened for settlement in 1893, and with a $1,000 prize going to the first person to reach the Ponca City site. There was a heated race to the site and Carpenter was one of the competitors. Some sources say that she was the first to stake a claim, while other sources say that she did not win the race. Either way, Carpenter settled in Ponca City where she trained her horses, was one of the few African American stable owners in the West, and when dissatisfied with the way a race was going, she had ridden her own horses. Carpenter, as a jockey, had won a few races. Her regular jockey was Olla "Lucky" Johnson. Some of her horses names were Irish Maid, Blue Bird, and Little Brown Jug. Eliza Carpenter had also stood up for herself when she won a horse racing bet and the person she was betting with refused to pay-up. Carpenter visited family in Kentucky on several occasions and on her final visit she was thrown from a buggy when her horse became spooked; Carpenter suffered a fractured skull and never fully recovered. She died in Oklahoma. She was the aunt of Frank and Virgil Gilliam of Madisonville, KY. For more see "Fans mourn woman jockey," Baltimore Afro-American, 12/20/1924; "Reproduced the Strip Run," Hutchison News, 09/17/06, p.8;
Subjects: Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration West
Geographic Region: Virginia / Madisonville, Hopkins County, Kentucky / Missouri / Kansas / Oklahoma

Carpenters (Louisville, KY)
Author W. H. Gibson, Sr. mentions the following African American carpenters in Louisville, KY: John Evans, Berry Evans, Jesse Merriwether, Willis Talbot, and John Jordan. For more see The History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, by W. H. Gibson, Sr.
Subjects: Businesses, Carpenters
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Churchill, Edward A.
Birth Year : 1926
Edward Churchill was born in Louisville, KY. He was the first African American state manager and sales promotion manager for Brown-Forman Distillers Corporation. For more see Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers of Kentucky, by J. B. Horton.
Subjects: Alcohol, Businesses
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Clay, John T.
Birth Year : 1859
Death Year : 1934
John T. Clay was a jockey who was injured riding War Jig on the Kentucky Association Track; the injuries ended his riding career, but he then became a successful trainer and was described as a wealthy man who owned real estate [source: "The Negro jockey on the American turf," The Freeman, 11/11/1905, p. 6]. He had ridden for Major Barak G. Thomas and was one of the persons named in Thomas' will [source: "Fortune for former slave," New York Times, 05/22/1906, p. 1]. In 1907, Clay partnered with Lewis McClanahan for the building of the Colored Skating Rink in Lexington, KY [see NKAA entry Colored Skating Rink and Summer Palm Garden]. John T. Clay is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Lexington, KY. He was the son of Harry Clay; his mother's maiden name was Reese, according to Kentucky Death Certificate File #5998, Registered #234. He was the husband of Caddie Clay and the father of John and Barak Clay. In 1900, the family lived on Constitution Street in Lexington [source: U.S. Federal Census]. John T. Clay was employed by the U.S. Post Office as a rural mail carrier, according to the 1910 Census and his death certificate. By 1920, the family lived on East Second Street, and in 1930, John T. Clay was a widower [sources: U.S. Federal Census].
Subjects: Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Postal Service, Skating Rinks
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Clay, Kenneth H.
Birth Year : 1939
Kenneth Clay grew up in Louisville, KY. In the 1960s he opened the Corner of Jazz, the first African American culture shop in Louisville. In 1978, he co-founded the Renaissance Development Corporation, a cultural arts administrative organization that promoted Black art and culture in Kentucky. In 1983 Clay joined the staff of the Kentucky Center for the Arts, where he remained for more than 21 years. He received the Chicago Kuumba Theater's 1993 Liberation Award for Presenting African American Artists and the 1999 Governor's Community Arts Award. In July 2004, Clay left the Kentucky Center for the Arts and became a freelance arts consultant. He is president of Ken Clay & Associates. For more see "Ken Clay takes a bow," Courier-Journal, 30 May 2004; Kenneth Clay in Kentucky Minority Artists Directory, 1982; and Ken Clay in Who's Who in Black Louisville, Inaugural Edition, p.103.
Subjects: Artists, Fine Arts, Businesses
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Clay, Theodore H., Sr.
Birth Year : 1843
Theodore H. Clay, Sr. was born in Fayette County, KY, his father was from Virginia and his mother was from Kentucky. Clay grew up in Lexington and became one of the early African American horse trainers who owned his own business, [as was Dudley Allen]. Clay is listed as Colored in the Sheppard's Lexington City Directory 1873 and 1874, owner of a breaking and training stable on Deweese Street opposite Correll [Corrall] Street. He is the only "Colored" person listed under the heading 'Horse Trainer' on p.234 of the 1873-74 city directory. His account record at the U.S. Freedmen Bank dated May 26, 1871, gives his occupation as a self employed trainer, and includes his wife's name, Louisa, a child named Brice, and a brother named Marshall. The Clays lived on Deweese Street. The family is listed in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census and includes the name of a second son named Theodore, and their property was valued at $800. The Clay family would leave Kentucky and move to Kansas. In 1880 they lived in Shawnee, KS: Theodore and Maria Louisa Clay (b.1848 in KY) and their three sons, all born in Kentucky, Brice Henry Clay (b.1868), Theodore H. Clay, Jr. (b.1870), and Edward Marshall Clay (b.1873). Theodore, Sr. supported the family as a farmer. By 1900, Theodore Clay was a widower living at 545 Tracy Street in Kansas City, MO, his occupation was listed in the census as farmer. He is last listed in the 1910 census, when Theodore shared his home with his son Edward and his family.
Subjects: Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration West
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Shawnee, Kansas / Kansas City, Missouri

Cobb, Lewis Arthur Gill "Shoe Shine"
Birth Year : 1966
Death Year : 2009
Lewis Cobb was a modern day, professional shoe shiner who promoted his business in downtown Lexington, KY. [His first name has also been written as Louis in various articles.] Cobb was well known by business owners and others who worked or frequented the downtown area. It was a rare sight to see an African American shoe shiner soliciting business on the streets of Lexington in the 21st Century, most had disappeared during the early decades of the 1900s [1907 picture of African American shoe shiner on Lexington street]. Shoe making and repairs, and shoe care had been predominately slave trades in Kentucky prior to the Civil War. After slavery ended in Kentucky with the ratification of the 13th Amendment in 1865, African American shoe makers were abundant in Lexington. By the 1930s, there were more than one hundred African Americans in Lexington who earned a living as self-employed shoe shiners and repairers, or they were employed within businesses such as cleaners, barbershops, hat shops, horse industry businesses, train and bus stations, and shoe stores. When Lewis Cobb started his shoe shine business in Lexington, it was said that he could be controversial, often humble, and offered a bit of philosophy, therapy, and spiritual inspiration while shining an individual's shoes. Not everyone welcomed Cobb's presence and when authorities received complaints, Cobb was ticketed by the police for operating his business without a peddler's license. With the help of attorney Gaitwood Galbraith, the charges were dropped; shoe shiners are not peddlers. But that did not prevent Cobb from receiving tickets for jaywalking and other infractions. Over time, Cobb refined his approach toward potential customers, the ticketing eventually stopped, and Cobb became well known in downtown Lexington. Lewis Cobb had learned the shoe shine business from a professional shoe shiner in Washington, D. C who also went by the name "Shoe Shine". Cobb had moved to D.C. from Virginia. He lived in Virginia for ten years and while there he established Cobb's Cleaning Service. Prior to living in Virginia, he had earned a college degree in North Carolina. Cobb was a native of Lexington and graduated from Bryan Station High School. He grew up in the Charlotte Court housing projects [now the Arbor Grove neighborhood]. In 2002, Lewis Cobb returned to Kentucky from D.C. and began his shoe shine business that summer. Two years later, he met Erin McAnallen-Wilson, a University of Kentucky student who completed a documentary about Cobb's life. The film, Can't Stop the Shine, was shown at the Kentucky Theatre in downtown Lexington on May 25, 2006. Lewis Cobb was the son of Betty Beatty and William A. Cobb. Information about his life was provided by his sisters Velma Johnson, Valois Lewis, and Arletta Taylor. Articles about Lewis Cobb include C. Thompson, "Shoeshine pro becomes subject of documentary," Lexington Herald-Leader, 05/23/2006, section D, p.1; and J. Brammer, "Shoeshine, well-known in downtown Lexington is remembered as a character," Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/12/2009, City/Region section, p. A3.
Subjects: Businesses, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Combs, George Robert
Birth Year : 1882
In 1920, George R. Combs, a Republican, was thought to be the first African American councilman in Nicholasville, KY, when he was elected to represent the Herveytown Ward. But, Andrew McAfee had been elected a city councilman in 1898. Combs, a Kentucky native, managed a grocery store and was an undertaker in Nicholasville, according to his WWI draft registration card. He was the husband of Lula M. Combs (b.1883 in KY), and the family of three lived on Hervey Street. Herveytown was an African American community on the east side of Main Street in Nicholasville, it was named after James Hervey, a banker, who had owned most of the land where the community was located. For more see Herv[e]ytown Ward under heading "Politics" in The Crisis, vol.19, issue3, January 1920, p.149 [online at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Businesses, Communities, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries
Geographic Region: Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky

Community Voice (newspaper)[Donald Cordray]
Start Year : 1987
End Year : 2001
The Community Voice newspaper was founded in Lexington, KY, by Donald L. Cordray (born 1952 in Lexington), who was also the editor and publisher. The biweekly publication focused on the African American community in Lexington, and had a circulation of 10,000, mainly in Lexington and Louisville. It was one of the first African American newspapers in Lexington since the early 1900s, and would be followed by the newspaper Key Newsjournal in 2004. For more see M. Ku, "Black voice to fall silent for a while April expansion planned for minority newspaper," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/20/2001, Main News section, p.A1; and "Newspaper to shut down," The Kentucky Post, 02/21/2001, News section, p.9A.
Subjects: Businesses, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentuckyk

Conley, Nellie [Madam Sul-Te-Wan]
Birth Year : 1873
Death Year : 1959
Nellie Conley, an actress, was born in Louisville, KY, the daughter of Silas Crawford Wan and Cleo de Londa. In 1983, she was posthumously inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame. Conley went by the name Madame Sul-Te-Wan, acting in early films such as Birth of a Nation and later films such as Carmen Jones and Tarzan and the Trappers. Prior to moving to California and acting in films, Conley had moved from Louisville to Cincinnati, Ohio. While there, she formed "The Black Four Hundred," an acting company that employed 16 performers and 12 musicians. The company was successful, as was a minstrel company that Conley established. Conley soon married and eventually moved to California. Two years later, she had just given birth to her third son when her husband left her. Her money was gone, so for a period of time Conley had to rely on charity. Times got better when she was hired by Kentucky native D. W. Griffith for the movie The Clansman; her pay was three dollars a day and increased to five dollars a day. She and D. W. Griffith remained friends for the rest of their lives, and she had bit parts in seven of his films. She also continued to perform in vaudeville, silent films, and talkies [films with sound]. In 1949, Conley married Anton Ebenthur, who was French; the couple married five years before interracial marriages were legal in California. According to writer Victor Walsh, Conley and Ebenthur were active members of Club Miscegenation in Los Angeles. [It has also been written that Conley was the mother of Ruby Dandridge (1900-1987) and the grandmother of Dorothy Dandridge (1922-1965).] For more see Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines, vol. 18: Sept. 1992-Aug. 1993; Directory of Blacks in the Performing Arts, 1st ed., by E. Mapp; The Negro Trail Blazers of California, by D. Beasley; and V. Walsh, "Women's History Month: Madame Sul-Te-Wan; Hollywood's first African American actress," Oakland Post, 03/19/1997, p. 8.

See photo image and additional information about Nellie Conley at BlackPast.org.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Businesses, Migration North, Migration West, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Grandparents, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers, Interracial Marriage and State Laws, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio / California

Cosby, Laken, Jr.
Birth Year : 1930
Death Year : 2014
Laken Cosby, Jr. is a graduate of Lousiville Central High School, he was born in Alabama. In 1988, he became the first African American chairman of the Jefferson County School Board. Cosby was also appointed to the Kentucky Board of Education in 1994 by Governor Brereton Jones; Cosby was vice chairman of the board for three terms. In 2002, Cosby was not reappointed to the board by Governor Patton. Laken Cosby, Jr. was the son Maudie B. Cosby and Laken Cosby, Sr. He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He was also owner of the Laken Cosby Real Estate Company. For more see "Cosby is Jefferson County board's first black chairman," in 1988 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Seventh Report, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, p. 36; M. Pitsch, "Longtime advocate of school reform replaced on board," Courier-Journal, 05/11/2002, News section, p. O1A; and A. Wolfson, "Laken Cosby Jr., civil rights leader, dies at 83," Louisville Courier-Journal, 06/14/2014, online obituary.
 
See photo image and additional information about Laken Cosby, Jr. at Hall of Fame 2012, a Kentucky Commission on Human Rights website. 
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Education and Educators, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Appointments by Kentucky Governors, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Huntsville, Alabama / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Cowan, Fred
Birth Year : 1958
Fred Cowan was born in Sturgis, KY. The 6' 8" center/forward was a member of the University of Kentucky basketball team from 1977-1981; in his freshman year the team won the NCAA Championship. Cowan played in a total of 111 games during his college career, scoring a total of 975 points. He scored a career high 44 points against Clemson in 1979. Cowan is listed as one of the top 100 players of all time at the University of Kentucky. He was selected by the Houston Rockets in the sixth round of the NBA 1981 draft but chose to play basketball in Japan, which he did for 10 years. He has had a number of businesses, including a demolition company. Today Cowan is a mortgage broker and owner of Statewide Mortgage Services in Madisonville and Lexington, KY. He is a brother of the late Brenda Cowan. For more see C. R. Hallstaff, "UK Basketball 100 years; Top 100 Players of All Time," Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/24/2002, Sports section, p. O2X; and M. Davis, "He won't die rich, and he's not trying," Lexington Herald-Leader, 05/10/2005, HealthFamily section, p. E1.

See photo image of Fred Cowan at bigbluehistory.net.
Subjects: Basketball, Businesses, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Sturgis, Union County, Kentucky / Japan, Asia

Cross, Clarence
Birth Year : 1916
Clarence Cross, an architect, was born n Allensville, KY, the son of Ameila Tinsley Cross and Napoleon Cross. Napoleon was a farmer and supported the family of five that included Amelia's mother Jane Tinsley, according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. In 1927, the family moved to Kokomo, IN, where Clarence Cross completed high school. He was a student at Tuskegee Institute [now Tuskegee University] and completed one year before enlisting in the U.S. Army on January 14, 1942, at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indiana, according to his enlistment record. After receiving an Honorable Discharge from the Army in 1946, Cross enrolled again at Tuskegee Institute and was a 1949 architecture graduate. He was a registered architect in Ohio and Indiana, and had a private practice while also employed by the Base Civil Engineering for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He retired from the Air Force Base in 1971. Cross was a founding partner in 1969 of the firm Cross, Curry, de Weaver, Randall and Associates; the firm was dissolved in 1997. Some of Cross' work includes his role as designer of the Second Baptist Church in Ford City, PA, and the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Dayton. For a more detailed account of the Clarence Cross biography and his accomplishments, see his entry in African American Architects, a biographical dictionary, 1865-1945 edited by D. S. Wilson.
Subjects: Architects, Businesses, Migration North, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Allensville, Todd County, Kentucky / Kokomo, Indiana / Dayton, Ohio

Darrell, Betty L.
Birth Year : 1934
Betty L. Darrell was born in Louisville, KY, to Jerome and Cleoda Mason McDonald. She was among the first African Americans to attend the University of Louisville, from which she graduated with a BA in 1955. Darrell lso received an MA from Washburn University in 1969. She was a schoolteacher in Louisville and later served as the director of the Racial Justice Association and Project Equality, both in New York, and was director of the New York/New Jersey Minority Purchasing Council. From 1984-1995, Darrell was director of the Minority Business Enterprise Development of Pepsi Cola North America. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1990-2000; T. Deering, "Pepsi sponsors luncheon to link minority firms," Sacramento Bee, 07/10/1992, Business section, p. B1; G. A. Drain, "NBL plans coalition to solve Black entrepreneur's problems," Michigan Chronicle, 02/08/1994; and J. D. O'Hair, "Pepsi appoints director," Michigan Chronicle, March 1995.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Education and Educators, Migration North
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New York / New Jersey

Davis, William Henry
Birth Year : 1872
Born in Louisville, KY, William H. Davis graduated from Louisville Colored High School in 1888 [later known as Louisville Central High School]. He taught himself shorthand and typewriting, then was employed by the law firm Cary & Spindle. He was also a private secretary for Louisville Mayor Todd and owned a thriving shoe store in Louisville. He taught typewriting and shorthand in the Colored schools because African Americans were excluded from the classes taught in Louisville. In 1899 he moved his family to Washington, D.C., and in 1902 was awarded a Doctorate of Pharmacology from Howard University. Dr. Davis went on to hold many posts with the federal government and opened the Mott Night Business High School. For more see Evidences of Progress Among Colored People, by G. F. Richings at the Documenting the American South website; and Dr. William H. Davis in the John P. Davis Collection.


Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Washington, D.C.

DB Bourbon Candy, LLC [Robyn C. Stuart and Johnnye Smallwood Cunningham]
Start Year : 2005
DB Bourbon Candy, LLC is a successful home business located in Frankfort, KY. While there are many candy companies and makers of bourbon balls in Kentucky, DB Bourbon Candy is believed to be the only African American owned company of its kind in the state. The owner is Robyn C. Stuart, daughter of the late Johnnye Smallwood Cunningham. The company's original candy recipe belonged to Johnnye Cunningham who would make bourbon balls during the holidays for family and friends. The bourbon balls were rolled in powered sugar. Cunningham passed away in 2002, and her daughter, Robyn Stuart, began making the bourbon balls, dipped in chocolate, for family and friends. In tribute to her mother, Stuart expanded the treats into a candy business with 38 different flavors besides bourbon. Also available are chocolate covered grapes, pineapples, and strawberries. DB Bourbon Candy clients include the Kentucky NFL Hall of Fame and Barnstable-Brown Derby Gala. The business is about giving back to children; in memory of Johnnye Smallwood Cunningham, DB Bourbon Candy,LLC gives toward school supplies for children in need. Johnnye S. Cunningham was born in Lexington in 1937, about a year after bourbon balls were created in Kentucky. Both the candy and the bourbon are unique to Kentucky, approximately 95% of the bourbon in the United States is distilled in Kentucky. For more about the DB Bourbon Candy, LLC business, see the first half of "Sweet Treats" program #441 on Connections With Renee Shaw, a Kentucky Educational Television Production [available online]; and visit the website DB Bourbon Candy, LLC. For more about the history of Kentucky bourbon balls see Kentucky Bluegrass Country by R. G. Alvey.
Subjects: Alcohol, Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Dixville and Other Communities in North Middletown, KY
One of the earliest mentions of the African American community of Dixville is a 1901 newspaper article in The Bourbon News. The community is also mentioned in Jacqueline Sue's book, Black Seeds in the Blue Grass. Dixville is located in North Middletown, KY, on the main road that heads toward Mt. Sterling. Albert B. Wess, Sr. was reared in Dixville: he was born on Deweese Street in Lexington and the family moved to Dixville when he was a small child. His father was a prominent member of the Dixville community, owning several homes and the Tom Wess Grocery Store. The store was in operation long before Albert Wess and his twin sister, Alberta, were born in 1923, and the store closed a year before Tom Wess died in 1936. The 2nd Christian Church was across the street from the store and nearby was a UBF&SMT [United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten] Lodge Hall. Tom Wess belonged to the lodge. The present day church in Dixville is Wiley Methodist Church. In 2007, the first Annual Dixville Picnic was held. Three other African American communities were located in North Middletown. One was Kerrville (1), on Highway 460 about one mile outside North Middletown. The Francis M. Wood High School, grades 1-8, was located in Kerrville (1), and Florence H. Wess (d.1932), mother to Albert Wess, was one of the schoolteachers and the music teacher; she also played piano at the church. Kerrville (2) was next to the other Kerrville; and Smoketown was one mile on the other side of North Middletown, heading toward Little Rock. A few of the families that lived in these communities had the last names of Carter, Cason, Mack, Kenney, Green, McClure, Butler, Fields, Dorsey, and Gibbs. This information comes from Albert B. Wess, Sr. See the article in The Bourbon News, 11/19/1901, p. 5. If you have more information about Dixville or the other communities, please contact Michell Butler.
Subjects: Businesses, Communities, Kentucky African American Churches, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Religion & Church Work, Fraternal Organizations, Women's Groups and Organizations, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Dixville, Kerrville, Smoketown, North Middletown, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Douglass, William J.
Birth Year : 1874
Death Year : 1938
William J. Douglass was a businessman in Cincinnati, OH. He was owner of the Palace Grill Restaurant at 2966 Gilbert Avenue. He had also been the director and vice-president of The Liberian Haberdashery Company, a wearing apparel business that was formed in 1919 as a $5,000 corporation. There were two stores located in Cincinnati. Thomas B. Richmond was the attorney for the business. Richmond owned his own law business. He was born 1886 in British Guiana, came to the U.S. in 1905, and became a citizen in 1912 [source: 1920 U.S. Federal Census]. The establishing of a corporation by African American men in Cincinnati, OH, was big news that was carried in the Crisis and in African American newspapers as far west as Washington state where the story was published in Cayton's Weekly newspaper. The corporation papers were filed August 27, 1919, and the business was listed in the Annual Report of the Secretary of State to the Governor and General Assembly of the State of Ohio, year ending June 30, 1920, p.64 [online at Google Books]. William J. Douglass was born in Madison County, KY, the son of Benjamin and Hattie Carpenter Douglass. He was the husband of Mary Banks Douglass who was also from Kentucky; they married in 1900. The couple lived on Gilbert Avenue, according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. Ten years later, William J. Douglass was still a restaurant proprietor. He was married to Ida Douglass, and the family of three lived on Churchill Avenue. William J. Douglass died February 20, 1938, according to the Ohio Certificate of Death file# 9938. For more about The Liberian Haberdashery see the first paragraph under the heading "Industry" in Cayton's Weekly, 10/18/1919, p.3. For more about William J. Douglass, see his entry in Cincinnati's Colored Citizens by W. P. Dabney.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration North
Geographic Region: Madison County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Duncan, Laval T.
Birth Year : 1907
Death Year : 1979
Duncan was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Henry, a shoemaker, and Cora Duncan. In 1934 he joined the Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company in Louisville and by 1950 had become its vice president and treasurer. He was also on the board of the Louisville Red Cross Hospital. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; the Laval T. Duncan Papers at the University of Louisville Archives and Records Center; and Laval T. Duncan in the Community Hospital Records finding aid in the Kentucky Digital Library.
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Medical Field, Health Care, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Dyer, Deborah L. and Jacqueline Smith (1956-2005)
In 1991 Deborah Dyer and Jacqueline Smith started Central Kentucky Research Associates, Inc. (CKRA) with a $500 investment. The first independent medical research company in Kentucky, CKRA today has offices in Lexington, Richmond, and Mt. Sterling, Kentucky. The company, which conducts drug studies for pharmaceutical companies, is one of the few owned by women (or African American women) who are not doctors. In 1999 the company was named a Small Business of the Year Finalist, and the owners were named finalists for Working Woman Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards in 2000. Smith was awarded an Outstanding Alumna Award in 2002 from Eastern Kentucky University. She died in 2005 from a massive stroke while attending a meeting in Florida. Smith was a graduate of Madison Central High School and Eastern Kentucky University, both in Richmond, Kentucky. In 2008, the Jacqueline Yvonne Miller Smith Visiting Professorship was established in the Center for Advancement of Women's Health at the University of Kentucky. For more see V. H. Spears, "A Rock for all those who knew her, Jacqueline Smith: 1956-2005," Lexington Herald Leader, 11/15/2005, City&Region section, p. B1; and "Spotlight on philanthropy" in Advancing Women's Health, issue 6, fall 2008.

See photo image of Deborah Dyer and Jacqueline Smith at the CKRA website.
Subjects: Businesses, Medical Field, Health Care, Researchers, Nurses
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky / Mt. Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky

East 6th Street / Scott's Rollarena / Foster's Roller Skating (Lexington, KY)
Start Year : 1868
End Year : 1961
In 1958, Scott's Rollarena for "Whites Only," became Foster's Roller Skating for "Colored Patrons Only." The roller rink was located at 427 E. 6th Street in Lexington, KY, between Shropshire Avenue and Ohio Street. [Today, it is the location of Griffith's Market.] Foster's Roller Skating was a short-lived venture owned by Rowland S. Foster, who was born in 1899 and died in 1975. The previous business, Scott's Rollarena, owned by Gilbert W. Scott, had not always been located on 6th Street. The business opened just prior to 1940 and was located on National Avenue during the early years, then moved to 422 West Main Street and in 1952 moved to the 6th Street location. Negroes who lived in the area were against the rink moving to 6th Street, and a group went before the Board of City Commissioners to denounce the move of a "whites only" skating rink to what was fast becoming a predominately Negro neighborhood. The commissioners offered their sympathy to the Negroes and said they could do nothing about the "whites only" policy. Looking back to the 1860s, East 6th Street had been considered the suburbs of Lexington [source: Prather's Lexington City Directory], and by the late 1890s, there were a few Colored families living on 6th Street [source: Emerson and Dark's Lexington Directory]. By 1939, there was a Colored neighborhood on E. 6th Street between Elm Tree Lane and Ohio Street, and Thomas Milton was the only Colored person living in the 400 block [source: Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, Ky.) City Directory]. The new neighborhood continued to exist in spite of the racial tension; the determined home owners would not succumb to threats and violence. In October 1930, the Colored families living on E. 6th Street between Elm Tree Lane and Ohio Street received threatening letters following the bombing of two homes. The letters warned the families to get out of the neighborhood. The homes of the Charles Jones family on Curry Avenue and of the Rhada Crowe family at 209 East 6th Street had both been blasted with dynamite. The Crowe family had been in their home just a week, and after the bombing they moved. The letters received by their neighbors were turned over to the chief of police, Ernest Thompson, and the families were assured the Lexington Police Department would protect them. The Colored families stayed, and the area continued to change. By 1948 Negro home owners and business owners were buying property in the 400 block of E. 6th Street. [source: Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, Ky.) City Directory]. The businesses were Luella Oldham Beauty Shop-410 (Colored); Irene Keller Beauty Shop-412 (Colored); Sweeney's Confectionery-430; City Radio Service-439; and Blue Grass Market-441. The street address, 427 E. 6th Street, did not exist prior to 1950, but by 1952 there was a building at the address when Scott's Rollarena moved to its new location. The protest against the "whites only" policy at the roller rink was one of the early and lesser known acts of the ongoing Civil Rights Movement in Lexington. In spite of the protests, Scott's Rollarena was at the 6th Street location for six years before the business closed in 1958. In May of that same year, Foster's Roller Skating opened in the same location for "Colored Patrons Only." The building at 427 E. 6th Street was listed as vacant in the 1961 Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, Ky) City Directory. In 1977, there was a grocery store in the building when it was destroyed by fire; arson was suspected. For more see "City fathers give sympathy which fears rink will raise problem," Lexington Leader, 01/10/1952, p. 12; the ad for Foster's Roller Skating in the Lexington Leader, 05/08/1958; "Judge requests jury to probe house bombing," Lexington Leader, 10/06/1930, p. 1; "Family to move following blast," Lexington Leader, 10/03/1930, p. 1; "Police promise protection for Negro families," Lexington Leader, 10/14/1930, p. 1; and "Store gutted; arson suspected," Lexington Leader, 06/17/1977, p. A-1.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Rioting, Insurrections, Panics, Protests in Kentucky, Skating Rinks, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Ecton, Virgil E.
Birth Year : 1940
Virgil E. Ecton was born in Paris, KY. He is a graduate of Indiana University (1962) and Xavier University. For 31 years he was employed at the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and served as the Executive Vice President and COO before leaving the organization in 2001 to become Vice President of University Advancement at Howard University. Ecton is known for his exceptional fund raising ability: he raised more than 1.6 billion dollars while employed at UNCF. He is a founding member of the National Society of Fund-Raising Executives' Certification Board. In 2011, Ecton was appointed vice president for federal affairs at Tuskegee University. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1975-2006.

See photo image and additional information about Virgil E. Ecton at the Tuskegee University website.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Migration North, United Negro College Fund (UNCF)
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Washington, D.C.

Edelen, John P.
Birth Year : 1900
Death Year : 1960
Edelen was born in Springfield, KY, the son of William and Barbara A. Edelen. He managed the Chicago Mortgage and Credit Company from 1926 to 1935 and was partner in Edelen, Bland and Company from 1935 to 1939, becoming the company's president in 1939. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950.
Subjects: Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Businesses
Geographic Region: Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Elster, Jesse
Birth Year : 1883
Death Year : 1950
Jesse Elster was a prominent baseball player and manager of the Grand Rapids Colored Athletics Team. He was born in Kentucky and moved to Grand Rapids in 1904. In 1914, Elster and Stanley Barnett formed the Colored Athletic Businesses Association (CABA). The organization supported the baseball team. Elster was still team manager in 1949 when the last articles about the team appeared in Michigan newspapers. Jesse was the husband of Mamie E. Bellis Elster (b.1887 in MO - died 1920), and he later married Emma V. Young, b.1883 in VA. The family of five is listed in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, and they lived at 439 James Avenue in Grand Rapids, according to Polk's Grand Rapids (Kent County, Mich) City Directory. Jess Elster and his son Russell were truck drivers for a furniture shop. His son Eugene was a shoe shiner. Elster's first name has been spelled different ways, he signed as "Jesse Elster" on his WWI draft registration card. For more see African Americans in the Furniture City by R. M. Jelks; The Negro Leagues Revisited by B. P. Kelley; and "Face Muskegon Club Sunday," Record-Eagle, 07/01/1949, p.15.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball, Businesses, Migration North, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Grand Rapids, Michigan

Estill, Monk
Death Year : 1835
Monk Estill arrived in Kentucky in the 1770s as a slave and was later freed, the first freed slave in Kentucky. He made gunpowder at Boonesborough, KY. His son, Jerry, was the first African American born in Kentucky. For more see the Kentucky Encyclopedia 2000 [electronic version available on the University of Kentucky campus and off campus via the proxy server], and The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan.


See depicted image and additional information about Monk Estill at Madison County Historical Society website.
Subjects: Businesses, Early Settlers, Freedom
Geographic Region: Boonesborough, Madison County, Kentucky

Farris, Samuel
Birth Year : 1845
Samuel Farris was born in Barren County, KY. At a young age, he was taken to Mississippi to work on a cotton plantation. After his master died, Farris attempted to make his way back to Kentucky but ended up in Alabama, then later made his way to Memphis. He worked on steamboats for 13 years, then changed his occupation to undertaking. His business was located at 104 DeSoto Street in Memphis, according to the Memphis, TN, City Directory for 1890 and for 1891. In the 1890s Samuel Farris was a member of the A.M.E. Church and considered a wealthy businessman -- worth $15,000. For more see the Samuel Farris entry in Afro-American Encyclopaedia: Or, the Thoughts, Doings... by James T. Haley, pp. 207-208 [UNC University Library, Documenting the American South].

  See photo image of Samuel Farris on p.208 of the Afro-American Encyclopaedia by J. T. Haley.
Subjects: Businesses, Freedom, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Migration South
Geographic Region: Barren County, Kentucky / Memphis, Tennessee

Ferguson, Denver and Sea (brothers)
Denver Darious Ferguson (1895-1957) and Sea Ferguson (1899-1974) were born in Brownsville, KY, the sons of Samuel H. and Mattie Whitney Ferguson. Denver was a journalist and established The Edmonson Star News. He was also a WWI veteran then moved to Indianapolis in 1919 and owned a printing company. Sea, a college graduate, followed his brother to Indianapolis and worked in his printing company. The brothers would leave the printing business, and around 1931 they began establishing entertainment businesses on Indiana Avenue: Trianon Ballroom, Royal Palm Gardens, the Cotton Club, and Sunset Terrace Ballroom. They also established Ferguson Brothers' Booking Agency and brought many big name African American entertainers to Indianapolis, and some lesser known names including Kentucky natives Jimmy Coe and Gene Pope. The Ferguson brothers also owned Ferguson Hotel. They are recognized for making Indianapolis a major stop on the African American entertainment circuit. Denver Ferguson was said to be quite a wealthy man up to WWII [source: "Denver Ferguson, pioneer businessman dies," Indianapolis Record, 05/18/1957, pp.1&7]. Sea Ferguson is said to have become a millionaire as a result of his real estate business. He was also an officer with the The National Negro Bowling Association (TNBA). Sea Ferguson is said to be the 3rd African American to build a bowling center; Ferguson's Fun Bowl opened in March 1941 at 750 N. West Street in Indianapolis, IN. For more see The Jimmy Coe Discography website; and "Sea Ferguson's Fun Bowl," The African Diaspora Archaeology Network, March 2008 Newsletter, p.9 [online .pdf].
Subjects: Bowlers and Bowling, Businesses, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Brownsville, Edmonson County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana

Foree, Jack C.
Birth Year : 1935
Foree was born in New Castle, KY, the son of Etta and Jesse Foree. He attended a segregated, two-room grade school in New Castle and received his high school diploma from Lincoln Institute. He is also a graduate of Kentucky State University, Spalding University, and Indiana University. Foree was a math teacher and administrator in the Jefferson County School System. He is now the president of Sky Brite of Louisville, Inc., a janitorial service he founded in 1970. Foree is also president of Grace Bible College, Inc., located in Louisville. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army. Information submitted by Jake Karnes. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1988-2007.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: New Castle, Henry County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Fortson, Bettiola Heloise
Birth Year : 1890
Death Year : 1917
Bettiola Fortson was a poet, essayist, and suffragist. She was born in Hopkinsville, KY, the daughter of James Fortson. At the age of nine, she was a boarder with the William Evans family on E. 13th Street in Hopkinsville, KY, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. When she turned 12, she went to live with her aunt, Toreada Mallory, on Armour Avenue in Chicago, IL. When her aunt went abroad, Fortson lived with her mother, Mattie Arnold, in Evansville, IN, where she attended Clark High School. The family of four lived on Oak Street (Mattie, who was a widow, and her children Robert, Bettie, and James Jr.) [source: 1910 U.S. Federal Census]. Bettiola Fortson would become a poet and was poet laureate of her high school class, she graduated in 1910, and returned to Chicago where she worked in the feather industry and owned her own millinery business. She was a journalist and president of the University Society Club, 2nd vice president of the Alpha Suffrage Club, and city organizer of the Chicago Federation of Colored Women's Clubs. She was the author of the 1915 title Mental Pearls: original poems and essays. For more see Toward a Tenderer Humanity and a Nobler Womanhood by A. M. Knupfer; Six Poets of Racial Uplift by E. T. Battle et. al.; Black American Writers Past and Present by T. G. Rush; and "Miss Bettiola Fortson," Broad Axe, 08/01/1914, p.2 [picture with article].
Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Migration North, Poets, Women's Groups and Organizations, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / Evansville, Indiana

Fox, Robert and Samuel
The Fox brothers owned a grocery store and one of the three leading undertaking businesses in Louisville, KY. Their undertaking business would eventually be merge with that of J. H. Taylor. In 1870, the Fox brothers and Horace Pearce went against the public streetcar policies when they boarded the Central Passenger's car at Tenth and Walnut Streets. All three men were removed from the car and jailed and their case would be resolved in U.S. District Court. Robert Fox (b.1846) and Samuel Fox (b.1849 ), both born in Kentucky, were the sons of Albert and Margaret Fox. For more see History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, by W. H. Gibson, Sr.; and the entry Streetcar Demonstrations.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Civic Leaders, Jim Crow, Corrections and Police, Rioting, Insurrections, Panics, Protests in Kentucky, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Railroad, Railway, Trains, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Francis, Lelia Iles
Birth Year : 1903
Death Year : 1999
Lelia I. Francis was born in Salt Lick, KY. She and her husband, Charles Francis, moved to Dayton, Ohio, in 1943. In 1947, Lelia I. Francis became the first African American realtor in Ohio and the second in the United States; she was a real estate broker for more than 50 years. She also helped establish the Unity Bank and an African American mortgage company. Francis was also an activist: she was one of the marchers arrested in 1967 for a protest that attempted to get more African Americans hired in downtown stores. Lelia I. Francis was a graduate of Kentucky State University and taught in rural schools in Kentucky before moving to Ohio. For more see J. H. Smith, "Lelia Iles Francis Dies, she was the first black realtor in Ohio and fought for job opportunities and better schools," Dayton Daily News, 07/26/1999, METRO section, p. 3B.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Businesses, Education and Educators, Migration North, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Salt Lick, Bath County, Kentucky / Dayton, Ohio

Frankfort, KY, Klan Violence
Start Year : 1871
On March 25, 1871, a letter was sent to the U.S. Congress asking for protection from the Ku Klux Klan for the newly-freed African Americans in Kentucky. The letter was from Colored citizens of Frankfort & vicinity, signed by Henry Marrs, a teacher; Henry Lynn, a livery stable keeper; N. N. Trumbo, a grocer; Samuel Damsey; B. Smith, a blacksmith; and B. T. Crampton, a barber. The letter contained a list of 116 incidents of beatings, shootings, hangings, tarring and feathering, and other violence that had taken place around the state. For more see Documentary History of the Negro People in the United States, vol. 2, ed. by H. Aptheker.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Freedom, Lynchings, Blacksmiths
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Franklin, Benjamin
Birth Year : 1849
Death Year : 1935
Born in Lexington, KY, into slavery, Benjamin Franklin chose his name during his christening. In 1868 he traveled to Europe, assisting a sick man by the name of Newcomb. He returned to Kentucky and assisted Kentucky Chief Justice George Robertson, who had had a stroke. Franklin was also a barber in Lexington, later moving the business to Midway. For about 40 years, he was a chiropodist in Lexington. He held several other jobs, all of which allowed him to accumulate considerable means, including bank stock. His wife was Susan J. Britton Franklin (d.1914) and their home, "designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style," was built in 1884 at 560 North Limestone Street in Lexington, KY. Benjamin Franklin died in 1935. For more see Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson; Lexington, Heart of the Bluegrass, by J. D. Wright, Jr.; and see Benjamin Franklin in "Colored Notes," Leader, 03/19/1935, p.11 & 03/20/1935, pp.7 & 17.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky

French, John B.
Birth Year : 1857
Death Year : 1931
John B. French was a politician, activist, singer, and business owner. He was the first African American to be appointed to the Industrial Commission of Illinois. The appointment came from Governor Len Small in 1922. The Industrial Commission acted on cases received from employees who had been injured on the job and were seeking compensation, and cases presented by persons seeking compensation for family members who had been killed on the job. French was a member of the commission branch that made the final decision on the cases. During World War I, he had also served on the Chicago Housing Committee and the Committee on the high cost of food. In 1920 he was a member of the Chicago Board of Examiners, and he was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for County Commissioner. French was the husband of Carrie Dennie; the couple had married in 1886 in West Bend, Kansas, while John was performing as an elocutionist with the Wilberforce Concert Company. Carrie French, educated at Oberlin College, was a soprano soloist. John French had also been a Jubilee singer, a bell boy, a shipping clerk, a caterer, the manager of Buildings and Grounds at Tuskegee Institute [now Tuskegee University], and steward at a country club. When he was named to the Industrial Commission in 1922, he was owner of a restaurant on Broadway named French's Pastry. In 1930, John French was among the group of Colored leaders in Chicago who were asked to meet with the Woolworth Company attorney, E. H. Williams. There was a problem; three of the Woolworth stores in the south side Colored district of Chicago were being picketed and boycotted. The Chicago Whip had organized the demonstration to force the Woolworth Company to hire Negro employees in the stores that were primarily supported by Negro patrons. John and Carrie French did not live on the south side--they lived at 4650 Winthrop Avenue, on the north end of Chicago. John had moved beyond Hubbard Street, where he had once lived with his family when they moved to Chicago from Kentucky just after the Civil War. John B. French, his mother, and all of his siblings were born in Kentucky. The family is listed as mulattoes in the census records beginning in 1870. John's wife, Carrie Dennie French, was born in 1862. Her mother was a Kentucky native who had migrated to Illinois, where Carrie was born. For more see "Hon. J. B. French makes record in state position," Chicago World, 10/29/1925, p. 3; "John B. French" on page 6 in Chicago Negro Almanac and Reference Book, edited by E. R. Rather; "The Mr. John B. French...," Cleveland Gazette, 01/09/1886, p. 1; and "Leaders hold conference with Woolworth attorney," Plaindealer, 08/29/1930, p. 1.

See photo image of John B. French at the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.

See photo image of Carrie Dennie French at the flickr website by puzzlemaster.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Falmouth, Pendleton County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Fryson, Sim E.
Birth Year : 1947
Since 1995, Fryson has been the CEO and president of Sim Fryson Motor Co. Inc., located in Ashland, KY. The company was listed among the Top 100 Black Businesses by Black Enterprise Magazine. Fryson, the second African American to own a Mercedes-Benz dealership, has more than 30 years experience in auto sales. Born in Charleston, WV, he served in Vietnam with the U.S. Air Force. He is a graduate of General Motors Institute, the University of Detroit, and West Virginia State University. For more see D. E. Malloy, "Sim Fryson in company of champions," Herald Dispatch (West Virginia), 02/27/05, p. 12G; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1990-2007.
Subjects: Automobile Dealerships and Factories, Businesses, Migration West, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Charleston, West Virginia / Ashland, Boyd County, Kentucky

Gaines, Emma
Birth Year : 1857
Death Year : 1949
Emma Gaines was an African American leader who was a native of Kentucky and lived and died in Kansas. She led educational and social efforts as an officer of a number of organizations. For 30 years she was president of the Baptist Women's Convention of Kansas and was among the first members of the Kansas Federation of Colored Women's Clubs when it was formed in June of 1931. She was president of the General Missionary Society, president of the Mothers Conference, and held several other positions at Shiloh Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. She was also a delegate for 30 years to the National Baptist Women's Convention, founded by Nannie Burroughs in 1900. Emma Gaines was a member of the Woman's Home and Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention and was elected vice president in 1897. She was director of the Negro Festival Choir in Topeka and led the group through numerous performances in Topeka and surrounding cities. She was one of the first officers of the National Training School for Women founded in Washington, D. C. in 1909; the school was directed by Nannie Burroughs. Gaines was a Grand Chief Preceptress of the Pearly Rose Tabernacle No. 77, Daughters of the Tabernacle, and served as president of the Daughters of Liberty. In 1899, she was elected Queen Mother of the International Order of Twelve. Emma Gaines was the wife of Thomas Gaines; both were born in Kentucky and had been slaves. Their son, Benjamin P. Gaines, was also born in Kentucky. The family left Kentucky around 1887 and settled in Topeka, Kansas. Beginning in 1927, they were the owners of Gaines and Son Funeral Home, and in 1937, the family lived above the business at 1182 Buchanan Street. The business was initially located at 305 Kansas Street when the Gaines purchased it from the Topeka Undertaking Company, which was owned by the Goodwin family from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Emma Gaines died in 1949. In 1954, the cornerstone of the Gaines Memorial Chapel was put into place, marking the beginning of construction of the church that was named in honor of Emma Gaines. The church was located on Baptist Hill across the street from Kansas Technical Institute [which later merged with Kansas State University]. For more see "The Story of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Gaines," Capital Plaindealer, 01/10/1937, p. 1; "The Baptist State Convention," Parsons Weekly Blade, 09/04/1897, p. 4; "Mrs. Emma Gaines...," Plaindealer, 09/29/1899, p. 3; "New organized undertaking firm has purchased former Topeka Undertaking Company," Plaindealer, 01/07/1927, p. 1; and "Lays cornerstone of Gaines Memorial Chapel," Plaindealer, 07/23/1954, p. 4.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration West, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Religion & Church Work, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Women's Groups and Organizations, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Topeka, Kansas

Garrison-Corbin, Patricia
Birth Year : 1947
Death Year : 2009
Born in Louisville, KY, Patricia Garrison-Corbin was the first African American female Sloan Fellow at MIT. She was the founder, chair and chief executive officer of P. G. Corbin & Company, the first African American female-owned Wall Street financial services corporation. In 1982 she became the first African American female officer in public finance at Drexel Burnham Lambert. Patricia Garrison-Corbin died of breast cancer in October 2009, she had lived in Center City Philadelphia, PA. She was the daughter of William and Ruby Garrison, and the wife of James D. Corbin. For more see "Corbin's Key to Success," The Bond Buyer, 10/31/02; Who's Who Among African Americans, 1985-2006; and J. F. Morrison, "Patricia G. Corbin, financial whiz, dies at 62," Philadelphia Daily News, 10/21/2009, Local section, p.26.

See photo image of Patricia Garrison-Corbin and additional information at WKU website.
Subjects: Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Businesses, Migration North
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

George, S. H.
Birth Year : 1878
Death Year : 1936
S. H. George was considered a wealthy physician, politician, and business man in Paducah, KY. He was born in Kentucky. His mother died when he was three years old, and S. H. George was forced to earn his way at an early age. He was a school teacher for several years, and later graduated from Walden University (TN) and Meharry Medical College. He returned to Paducah and opened his medical practice, and is listed in the 1910 U.S. Federal Census. He was the husband of Nettie McClaine (1889-1935), who was born in Decatur County, TN. Nettie was a trained nurse. The couple shared their home with Nettie's mother Susan Jobe Hoskin, according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. Dr. George was involved in several businesses, including a skating rink. August 1909, during the Emancipation Day celebration, Dr. George charged Daniel Hopwood with trying to pass a bad dollar at the Paducah Colored Skating Rink, located at 10th and Broadway; the rink was in financial trouble in 1909. The counterfeiting case against Hopwood was dismissed from the Paducah courts due to insufficient evidence. Several years later, Dr. George was a Kentucky delegate to the Republican National Convention. His first term was in 1920; the Kentucky Republican State Convention had been undecided as to which African American would be a delegate-at-large, and after a four hour discussion, Dr. George was selected. Also in 1920, Dr. George was co-owner of the newly incorporated Home Drug Company in Paducah. The other two owners were John W. Egester and C. M. Bolden. That same year, Dr. George was owner and manager of the Hiawatha Theater, a picture house at 432 S. 7th Street in Paducah. He paid $10,000 for the business. In 1927, in Washington D.C., Dr. S. H. George was re-elected Grand Esteemed Leading Knight of the Improved Benevolent and Protective Order Of Elks of the World (IBPOEW); he was a Mason, an Odd Fellow, a Pythian, a member of the Court of Calanthe, and vice president of the Pythian Mutual Industrial Association of Kentucky. In 1928, he was again a Republican National Convention delegate. Dr. S. H. George died June 23, 1936, his death notice is on p.155 in An Economic Detour by M. S. Stuart. Dr. George was a founding member, a stockholder, and a 21-year elected member of the board of directors of the Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company. For more see "Pick Kentucky delegates," New York Times, 03/04/1920, p.17; "No conviction in counterfeiting cases," The Paducah Evening Sun, 08/17/1909, p.3; see "S. H. George..." on p.16 in NARD Journal, v.30, 1920; African American Theater Buildings by E. L. Smith; "J. F. Wilson re-elected head of Negro Elks," The New York Times, 08/26/1927, p.14; and see S. H. George in The National Cyclopedia of the Colored Race edited by C. Richardson [available online at Internet Archive].
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Medical Field, Health Care, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Fraternal Organizations, Pharmacists, Pharmacies, Skating Rinks, Theater: Companies, Education, Exhibitions, Performers, and Performances in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Gomez, Wanti W. [Louis Jones]
Wanti (or Wante) W. Gomez is said to have appeared in Durham, NC, from 'out of nowhere' in 1920. He was first an independent agent with the Mutual Building and Loan Association, and with that major success, he was named director of the company's education department. Gomez left the position and founded the Bankers Fire Insurance Company, which was also a success. Gomez chose a low profile as secretary of the company. Bankers Fire was listed in Best Insurance Reports, vol. 22, 33rd ed., 1922-23, p. 54, wherein Gomez was credited as having several years of insurance business [online at Google Book Search]. In 1924, he pushed for the establishment of the National Negro Finance Corporation within the National Negro Business League. The Finance Corporation was a complete failure in the late 1920s. Gomez was long gone by that time, having disappeared from Durham in 1926 and taking with him assets from his business, Durham Commercial Security Company. He was never heard from again. It was soon learned that Gomez's real name was Louis Jones and he was a fugitive from Kentucky who was wanted for arson. He had left the Bankers Fire Insurance Company in good standing, and Wanti Gomez is still considered one of the major contributors toward the making of Black Wall Street in Durham. For more see Black Business in the New South, by W. B. Weare; Durham County, by J. B. Anderson and Historic Preservation Society of Durham; "Bankers Fire Insurance Company, Durham, N. C., condition December 31, 1921, as shown by statement filed," The Landmark, 04/27/1922, p. 3.
Subjects: Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Migration East, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Durham, North Carolina

Gray, James F.
Birth Year : 1860
Death Year : 1926
Born in Versailles, KY, Gray taught school in Russellville, KY. In 1889 he was appointed Gauger by President Harrison; Gray was the first African American appointed to the position in the Collection District. In 1894 he was elected principal at Mayfield, KY, and in 1896 returned to Russellville, where he ran unsuccessfully for postmaster in 1897, and was still a school teacher in Russellville in 1900. The 1910 U.S. Federal Census shows James F. Gray as an employee with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and he was living in Louisville with his wife Sarah, their son Frank, and stepmother Hannah Gray. In 1920, James Gray operated a grocery store in Louisville, and he and his family lived on 16th Street. For more see Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky / Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky / Mayfield, Graves County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Grear, William A. "Bill"
Birth Year : 1923
Death Year : 2006
Grear was born in Russellville, KY, the son of Oretha Williams Grear and Charles C. Grear. He was the first African American-elected official in Florida: in 1968 Grear was elected city commissioner of the City of Belle Glade. He was elected vice mayor in 1974 and mayor in 1975. Grear was also owner of B and E Rubber Stamps and Trophies. He was a barber and a director of a child development center. He was the husband of Effie Carter Grear, a school teacher and principal of Glades Central High School. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1975-2006 ; M. Malek, "Bill Grear, Belle Blade's first Black commissioner, dies at 82," The Palm Beach Post, 08/18/2006, Local section, p.2B; and African American Sites in Florida by K. M. McCarthy.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Education and Educators, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Migration South, Mayors
Geographic Region: Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky / Belle Glade, Florida

Green, Elisha W. [Green v. Gould]
Birth Year : 1815
Death Year : 1893
Elisha W. Green was born in Bourbon County, KY. He was a slave of John P. Dobbyns as well as a pastor in Maysville, KY, and Paris, KY. He was allowed regular travel between the two cities, traveling by train and stage, sometimes passing without incident but at other times denied admittance or attacked. After gaining his freedom, Green later had a whitewashing business and learned a number of skills in order to earn income for his family. He led in the building of an all African American community, Claysville, in Paris, KY. For more see A History of Blacks in Kentucky from Slavery to Segregation, 1760-1891, by M. B. Lucas; Life of the Rev. Elisha W. Green..., by E. W. Green [available online at UNC Documenting the American South]; and C. L. Davis, "Green v. Gould (1884) and the Construction of Postbellum Race Relations in a Central Kentucky Community," The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, vol. 105, issue 3 (Summer 2007), pp. 383-416.

See image of Elisha W. Green on frontispiece page of Life of the Rev. Elisha W. Green... by E. W. Green, at Documenting the American South.
Subjects: Businesses, Civic Leaders, Freedom, Religion & Church Work, Railroad, Railway, Trains, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky

Green, Nancy
Birth Year : 1834
Death Year : 1923
Born a slave in Montgomery County, KY, Nancy Green was the world's first living trademark: she was the original "Aunt Jemima." Green did not develop the pancake mix nor did she own the company or any part of it. Green was first introduced as Aunt Jemima at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. She received a lifetime contract and traveled all over the country promoting Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix until her death in 1923. The pancake company was sold to the Quaker Oats Company in 1925. The image of Nancy Green as Aunt Jemima continued until the 1950s, when there was outspoken criticism. Since that time the image has received a number of upgrades. Nancy Green left Kentucky for Chicago when she was hired as a nurse for the Walker family, whose children grew up to become Chicago Circuit Judge Charles M. Walker and Dr. Samuel Walker. Green was the first African American missionary worker and an organizer of the Olivet Baptist Church, one of the largest African American churches in Chicago. She died in a car accident in 1923. For more see Nancy Green, the original "Aunt Jemima", an African American Registry website; Notable Black American Women. Book III, ed. by J. C. Smith; and "Aunt Jemima, victim of auto," Urbana Daily Courier, 10/27/1923, p. 7 [full-text of article in Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection].

See image of Nancy Green as Aunt Jemima at Wikipedia.
Subjects: Businesses, Freedom, Migration North, Religion & Church Work, Nurses
Geographic Region: Montgomery County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Grider, Katie
Birth Year : 1858
Katie Grider was a 52-year old widow who left Kentucky and lived in Missouri, before settling in the African American town of Brooklyn, Illinois. Free persons and escaped slaves from St. Louis, Missouri, established Brooklyn in 1830 in St. Clair County. In 1910 Grider was a successful businesswoman: the owner of a tavern, restaurant, and boardinghouse. She was one of two persons who owned a restaurant in the town. Grider lived on 8th Street where she operated her business, and according to the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, her 23 year old daughter, Lottie, lived with her. Lottie was born in Missouri. For more see America's first Black town: Brooklyn, Illinois, 1830-1915, by S. K. Cha-Jua; and Guest Viewpoint, B. L. Betts, "Brooklyn's proud past is foundation for future," Belleville News-Democrat, 03/06/2007, Local/National section, p. 4A.
Subjects: Businesses, Communities, Migration North, Migration West
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Missouri / Brooklyn, Illinois

Griffin, Mabel and Emma [The Griffin Sisters]
Mabel (born around 1870) and Emma (1873-1918) Griffin were born in Louisville, KY. They were the highly popular vaudeville performers known as the Griffin Sisters who toured throughout the United States, including Alaska, the western tour to California and back, and the southern tour that included Kentucky. They began performing as members of John Isham's Octoroons Company and toured with several other companies before organizing their own theater booking agency in 1913 in Chicago. They had been considered premiere performers and broke theater attendance records while with the Sherman H. Dudley agency, created in 1912 as the first African American operated vaudeville circuit. The Griffin Agency was one of the earliest to be managed by African American women, and they also had a school of vaudeville art. Emma Griffin encourage African American performers to use either the Dudley Agency or the Griffin Agency. The sisters also opened the Alamon Theater in Indianapolis, IN, in April of 1914. They managed the Majestic Theater in Washington, D.C. in June of 1914. The sisters were listed as mulattoes, along with their brother Henry, who was a musician, and their grandmother Mary Montgomery, all in the 1910 U.S. Federal Census when the family lived in Chicago. For more see "The Griffin Sisters" in Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians, by E. Southern; A. Knight, "He paved the way for T.O.B.A.," The Black Perspective in Music, vol. 15, issue 2, pp. 153-181; the ad "S. H. Dudley: The Griffin Sisters," Freeman, 03/08/1913, p.5; see the ad "Griffin Sisters Theatrical Agency," Freeman, 12/20/1913, p.6; see ad "Griffin Sisters Theatrical Agency and School of Vaudeville Art," Broad Axe, 02/07/1914, p.3; "Griffin Sisters open the Alamo," Freeman, 04/25/1914, p.1; "Majestic Theater," Washington Bee, 05/30/1914, p.5; and "Emma Griffin dead," Washington Bee, 09/14/1918, p.4.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Businesses, Migration North, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / Washington, D. C.

Groves, Junius G.
Birth Year : 1859
Death Year : 1925
Junius Groves was born a slave in Green County, KY, or Louisville, KY. He walked to Kansas City in 1897, where he worked for 40 cents per day. Groves was able to save enough money to purchase a nine acre farm in Edwardsville, KS, which enabled him to later purchase a 500 acre produce farm there. At one time he produced more potatoes than any other farmer in the world, the harvest so large that a private railroad track was built on his land by Union Pacific Railway for shipping the produce. Groves was known as the "Potato King of the World." He also founded the community of Groves Center, KS, in 1913. For more see Junius K. Graves (sic) in The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; and the Junius G. Groves entry on the Kansapedia website, by the Kansas State Historical Society.


Subjects: Agriculturalists, Produce, Businesses, Migration West, Railroad, Railway, Trains
Geographic Region: Green County or Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Kansas City and Edwardsville, Kansas

Hall, Henry E. [Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company]
Birth Year : 1876
Death Year : 1936
Henry E. Hall, a Kentucky native, and William H. Wright, a lawyer from Alabama, were the founders of Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company. Hall was born in Henderson, KY, the son of Burell and Millie Hall. In 1880, the family of eight lived on Audubon Street, according to the U.S. Federal Census. Henry Hall attended the local colored school and worked in a tobacco factory. He was a graduate of Hampton Institute [now Hampton University]. Hall would return to Henderson, where he was a school teacher during the school year and worked in a tobacco factory when school was not in session. In 1911, Hall founded the insurance company National Benevolent Union of Kentucky. He did not have a license to operate an insurance company, and was forced to sell the business, which was purchased by Atlanta Mutual, and Hall was hired as the state manager for Kentucky. He would later take on the duties of manager of the health and accident department of the Standard Life Insurance Company of Atlanta until the company was forced out of Kentucky in 1914. Shortly after the company's exit from the state, Hall and Wright formed the Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company, but the state of Kentucky would not license the company. Hall and Wright took their case to the Kentucky Court of Appeals and won. The Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company was officially launched July 12, 1915 at an office on 6th and Liberty Streets in Louisville, KY, with Hall, Wright, Rochelle Smith, and B. O. Wilkerson. The business prospered, and soon district offices were located in Lexington, Paducah, Bowling Green, and Hopkinsville. The main office was replaced by a three-story brick building at 422 S. 6th Street in Louisville. The business continued to prosper and a new six-story building was constructed at 604-12 W. Walnut Street in Louisville. In 1926, William H. Wright died and Henry Hall took over as sole president of Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company. The company expanded with offices in Indiana and Ohio. In 1930, the Arkansas branch was sold to Southwestern Insurance Company of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The company weathered the depression years in the 1930s. Henry E. Hall died in 1936, and the company continued. It was the largest African American owned business in Kentucky. In 1992, the company merged with Atlanta Life and the Kentucky offices were closed. Henry E. Hall was the husband of Emma Hall; the couple had four daughters, according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. The family lived on Chestnut Street in Louisville in their home, which was worth $5,000. For a more complete history about the business see "The Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company, Louisville, Kentucky" on pp. 150-156 in An Economic Detour: a history of insurance in the lives of American Negroes, by M. S. Stuart; Encyclopedia of Louisville by J. E. Kleber; and C. G. Woodson, "Insurance business among Negroes," The Journal of Negro History, vol. 14, no. 2 (April 1929), pp. 202-206. See also the NKAA entry for Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company.

 

  See photo image of Henry E. Hall, top of right hand column, on p.80 in Golden jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky.
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Education and Educators, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County

Harlan, Robert J.
Birth Year : 1816
Death Year : 1897
Robert J. Harlan was born in Harrodsburg, KY, child of a slave mother and Judge James Harlan (father of John M. Harlan - Plessy v. Ferguson). He was the second American to own and race horses in England. He lost his wealth during the Civil War. Harlan spoke out for the ratification of the 15th Amendment. He was a member of the Ohio Legislature and worked with two others to gain the repeal of the Black laws. For more see Dictionary of American Negro Biography, by R. W. Logan & M. R. Winston.

  See photo image and additional information on Robert J. Harlan at BlackPast.org.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North, Legislators (Outside Kentucky)
Geographic Region: Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky / England, Europe / Ohio

Harriford, Robert L., Sr.
Birth Year : 1927
Death Year : 2009
Robert L. Harriford, Sr. was born in Nobob, KY, the son of Willie and Grace Harriford. In 1930, the family lived on Upper Glasglow and Thompkinsville Road in Union (Monroe County) KY. In 1969, Robert Harriford became the first African American appointed to the Paducah City School Board, holding the post for 13 years. Harriford was also the first African American to serve on the executive board of the Kentucky School Board Association. He was president of Harriford Reproductions, located in Paducah, for 15 years. For more see Kentucky Black Elected Officials Directory [1970], p. 6, col. B, published by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights; Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers of Kentucky, by J. B. Horton; and B. Bartleman, "Harriford eulogized for work with youth," The Paducah Sun, 07/07/2009, State & Regional section.

See photo image and additional information about Robert L. Harriford, Sr. at the Woodlawn Memorial Gardens & Mausoleum website.
Subjects: Businesses, First City Employees & Officials (1960s Civil Rights Campaign), Photographers, Photographs, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Nobob, Metcalfe County, Kentucky / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Hayden, Anderson "Andrew" and Anna David Hayden
Anderson Hayden (1852-1911) was a former slave who owned a blacksmith business and real estate in Cynthiana, KY. Fairly well-off, he lived in a white neighborhood. Hayden's first name is given as Anderson in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census. He was born in Bourbon County, KY, the son of Anderson Hayden and Cynthia Sherman, according to his death certificate. He was the husband of Anna David Hayden (1855-1948) who was born in Harrison County, KY, the daughter of Baldwin David and Hannah Stauff, according to her death certificate. Anderson Hayden was in an asylum in Lexington, KY when he died in 1911, and his wife Anna died in Harrison County, KY. For more see Evidences of Progress Among Colored People, by G. F. Richings.
Subjects: Businesses, Blacksmiths, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Bourbon County, Kentucky / Cynthiana, Harrison County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Henry, Ragan A.
Birth Year : 1934
Death Year : 2008
Henry was born in Sadieville, KY, the son of Augustus and Ruby Henry. He was an African American pioneer in radio and television station ownership. In 1993, the Regan Henry Group was responsible for 26 owned and leased radio stations. Henry published The National Leadership newspaper, then, in 1989, became president of Broadcast Enterprises National, Inc. He was a partner of the law firm Wolf, Black, Schorr, and Solis-Cohen. Henry spent much of his life in Philadelphia, PA. He earned an A.B. degree at Harvard College in 1956 and an L.L.B. from Harvard Law School in 1961. He was also a veteran of the U.S. Army. For more see The Negro Almanac, 4th-9th eds.; Who's Who in Entertainment; and J. A. Gambardello, "A Pioneering media mogul and lawyer," The Philadelphia Inquirer, 08/08/2008, Obituaries section, p.A01.
Subjects: Businesses, Lawyers, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Radio, Television
Geographic Region: Sadieville, Scott County, Kentucky / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Hensley, Peter Lee
Birth Year : 1858
Death Year : 1926
Peter L. Hensley was born in Mt. Sterling, KY, he had been a slave, the son of Howard and Margaret Magowan Hensley. He owned and bred trotters, owned a grocery store and restaurant when he was 19 years old, and later owned the Yellow Rose Farm in Montgomery County, KY. Two of his winning horses were Temple Bar (who won 24 out of 25 races) and Alcyo (who won 17 consecutive races). Peter Hensley was also president of the Montgomery County Colored Fair Association. Peter Hensley's family was owned by the Magowan Family during slavery. For more see Peter Hensley on p. 392 in The WPA Guide to Kentucky, by F. K. Simon; P. W. L. Jones, "The Greatest Negro harness horse owner," Crisis, Sept. 1937, pp.266, 284-285 [online with picture at Google Book Search]; and the following articles in The Mt. Sterling Advocate: "Alcyo and Temple Bar," 04/18/1906, p. 2, and "Home of Alcyo and Temple Bar," 05/09/1906, p. 3 [picture with article].

See picture of Peter L. Hensley in Crisis, Sept. 1937, p.266.
Subjects: Businesses, Colored Fairs & Black Expos, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Mount Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky

Hicks, Lucy L. [Tobias Lawson]
Birth Year : 1886
Death Year : 1954
Lucy Hicks said she was from Kentucky when she arrived in California around 1915. The six foot tall cook was also a madam; for 30 years she ran the only house of prostitution in Oxnard, California. She was also a philanthropist, giving generously to charity organizations such as the Boy Scouts and the Red Cross, as well as purchasing war bonds. As World War II was coming to an end in August 1945, an outbreak of venereal disease was said to have come from Hicks' establishment; Lucy and all of her employees had to be examined by the doctor. During Hicks' examination, it was discovered that Hicks was a biological male. Hicks had married twice, the second time in 1945, and was therefore charged with perjury, then jailed, tried, sentenced to prison, and kicked out of the city of Oxnard. Lucy Hicks' story was first published in a Pacific Coast newspaper, then updated and published in Time, after which Lucy Hicks was voted Time's Man of the Year. After the story ran, Hicks was wanted by the U.S. Army as a draft dodger. Lucy Hicks was born Tobias Lawson in Waddy, KY, and died in Los Angeles. Hicks was the child of Bill (b.1849 in KY) and Nancy Lawson (b.1851 in KY), and according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, the Lawsons worked for the George Waddy family. Nancy and Tobias, the youngest child, were still working for the Waddy family when the 1900 Census was taken. For a more complete history of Hicks' life see the Lucy Hicks Anderson entry at the BlackPast.org website; see "Sin & Souffle," Time, 11/05/1945, p. 24 [available online]; and Oxnard, 1941-2004, by J. W. Maulhardt [pictures of Lucy Hicks on p. 89].


Subjects: Businesses, Migration West, Cross Dressing, Dress in Drag
Geographic Region: Waddy, Shelby County, Kentucky / Oxnard and Los Angeles, California

Horn, Bobby Joe "Bob Nighthawk Terry"
Birth Year : 1936
Death Year : 1977
Horn was born in Franklin, KY. His on-the-air name was Bob 'Nighthawk' Terry. Horn was a prominent disc jockey of Black radio in Washington, D.C. at stations WOL-AM, 1965-1971, and WHUR-FM, 1971-1975. He had attended the New York School of Announcing and Speech then worked as an on-air personality, producer, host, program director, and manager at a number of radio stations before coming to D.C. He was voted Best Air Personality of the Year, WOL-AM, 1966-1970. Horn left radio to form his own entertainment company and in 1977, he disappeared. In the 2007 movie, Talk to Me, Cedric the Entertainer plays the role of Bob 'Nighthawk' Terry. For more see The Washington Post articles, T. S. Robinson and C. Schauble, "Disc jockey was officials suspect victim of murder," 03/15/1978, Metro section, p. C1; "Missing persons: 5 unsolved cases," 10/23/1983, First Section, p. A16; and F. Ahrens, "A century's strongest signals," 12/28/1999, Style section, p. C1. See also Hit Men: Power Brokers and Fast Money Inside the Music Business, by F. Dannen; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1975-2000.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration North, Radio, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Franklin, Simpson County, Kentucky / Washington, D.C.

Horton, John Benjamin
Birth Year : 1904
Death Year : 1997
Born in Georgia, Colonel J. B. Horton came to Kentucky in 1940 to become an advertising salesman with the Louisville Defender newspaper, then advanced to advertising director. Horton left the newspaper in 1954 and founded J. Benjamin Horton & Assoc., Inc., Advertising and Public Relations Consultants. He also published three magazines: Louisville Buyers Guide, News Digest, and Kentucky Negro Journal. He also published books: Not Without Struggle, Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers in Kentucky, and Old War Horse of Kentucky. For more see Horton's biography, Flights from Doom.
Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North
Geographic Region: Georgia / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Houston, Walter Scott, Sr.
Birth Year : 1888
Death Year : 1927
Walter S. Houston, Sr. was a prosperous businessman in Cincinnati, OH. Born near Owensboro, KY, he was the son of Robert and Maggie Houston. He was the husband of Grace Harding Houston, also from Owensboro, KY; she died a few years after the couple married. Houston's second wife was Anna Mae Lee, a public school teacher in Cincinnati. Walter S. Houston, Sr. owned property, a cigar booth, a grocery store near the corner of Wayne and Wyoming Streets, and an undertaking business that he managed with his wife and his son, Walter S. Houston, Jr. The Houston and Son Funeral homes were located at 2813 Gilbert Avenue and later at 108 N. Wayne Avenue, according to William's Cincinnati (Ohio) City Directory for the years 1948 and 1951. Walter S. Houston, Sr. was a member of the United Brothers of Friendship (U.B.F.). For more information see Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, by W. P. Dabney.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration North, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Hudson, James E.
Birth Year : 1887
Death Year : 1964
James E. Hudson was an elevator operator at the Kentucky Capitol. In 1922, he was thought to be the first African American to address the Kentucky General Assembly. An evolution bill was being debated, and Hudson's Bible had been borrowed to argue a point. The Bible was worn, and Representative George C. Waggoner from Scott County led the collection effort to buy Hudson a new Bible and a Bible dictionary. His remarks to the Kentucky General Assembly were in response to receiving his new Bible and dictionary. Hudson also owned a restaurant that he managed during the week. In 1930, Hudson, his wife Callie and her son Joseph, lived on East Third Street in Frankfort, according to the U.S. Federal Census. Most of this information comes from "Bible Presentation," a website by the Legislative Research Commission; and United We Stand: Encouraging Diversity in Kentucky's Leaders (.pdf), by Kentucky.gov. See also "Volunteer Chaplain," The Bismarck Tribune, 02/02/1928, front page.

See photo image from the Kentucky Historical Society of James E. Hudson at the Bible Presentation website by the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission.
Subjects: Businesses, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Hughes, Green Percy
Birth Year : 1881
Death Year : 1930
Hughes was born seven miles outside of Paris, KY, the son of William Henry Hughes, from Vermont, and Delphia Finch Hughes, from Indiana. Green P. Hughes was the husband of Sue B. Hughes, born 1887 in KY, and the family of six lived on Walnut Street in Louisville, KY in 1920, according to the U.S. Federal Census. In 1921, Green Hughes founded and organized the successful business, Domestic Life and Accident Insurance Co., in Louisville, serving as its president. He had retired from the insurance business when he committed suicide August 7, 1930, according to his death certificate, and is buried in Louisville. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1927.
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Suicide
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Hutton, Henry T. "Hut"
Birth Year : 1915
Death Year : 1994
In 1985, Henry Hutton almost became the fourth African American mayor in Kentucky and the first in eastern Kentucky. Hutton was temporarily named mayor of Fleming-Neon after a court decision in his favor. Hutton had run against Mayor James Seals, who won the primary as a Democrat, he won by 37 votes. Letcher Circuit Judge F. Byrd Hogg voided the win because Seals had filed improperly for the office as an Independent but ran on the ballot as a Democrat. An appeal was filed and the ruling was overturned. The mayor's race was only one of the many noted achievements of Henry T. Hutton, who was born in Stonega, VA. He is listed in the 1940 U.S. Census as the son of Annie Saxton and the stepson of Dane Saxton, who was a coal miner. Henry Hutton came to Letcher County, KY, in 1946 to work in the coal mines. In 1985, Hutton was a retired coal miner and a politician. He had served as a constable, city councilman, and mayor pro tem. He had been the owner of Red Bud Coal Company, an underground mine that hired five African Americans and 16 Whites. Hutton was the first African American coal mine owner in the Letcher County area. He later worked for the Beth-Elkhorn Coal Corp. and retired from the company in 1974. He and his wife Elsie Hutton also owned Hut's Barbeque Restaurant on Back Street in Fleming. Henry Hutton also served as Sargent-At-Arms for the Kentucky General Assembly. He served as an aid to Senator Kelsey Friend, Sr. from Pikeville, KY. He was president of the Letcher County NAACP and a member of the Board of Directors of the Kentucky River Area Development District. Hutton was Grand Chancellor Commander of the Kentucky Knights of Pythias, Chancellor Commander of Hannibal Lodge No.93 Knights of Pythias in Jenkins, KY, and Treasurer of David Temple Lodge No. 110 Free and Accepted Masons in Jenkins. In 1988, he received the Carter G. Woodson Award from Berea College and was also inducted into the Letcher County Mountain Heritage Hall of Fame. Henry Hutton Road in Fleming is named in his honor. For more see "Eastern Kentucky town to get first black mayor," Daily News (Bowling Green, KY), 10/03/1985, p. 7-A; and "Fleming-Neon area leader dies at 76," {from March 16, 1994 issue}, Issue: 1994 in Review, News-Press (Cromona, KY), 12/28/1994, section A, p. 5.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration West, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Fraternal Organizations, Mayors
Geographic Region: Stonega, Virginia / Fleming-Neon, Letcher County, Kentucky

Jackson, James W.: Migration to Colorado
James W. Jackson was only one of the hundreds of African Americans who left Kentucky for the West. According to the Census Reports, there were 687 African Americans who had left Kentucky and moved to Colorado by 1900. African Americans were being enticed to Colorado, according to author Jesse T. Moore, Jr., in order to keep out the Chinese, who were seen as an economic threat to American labor. African Americans, on the other hand, were viewed as being acclimated to American ways and no real threat. In 1858, James Jackson, born a slave, left the area near Maxville, KY, and settled in Denver, where he became a successful businessman. Jackson was politically active on many levels and became the first African American to serve on the Colorado Republican State Committee. Jackson was also invited to speak with President Theodore Roosevelt concerning the condition of African Americans in the U.S. For more see J. T. Moore, Jr., "Seeking a New Life: Blacks in Post-Civil War Colorado," The Journal of Negro History, vol. 78, no. 3 (Summer, 1993), pp. 166-187.
Subjects: Businesses, Immigration, Migration West, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents
Geographic Region: Maxville, Washington County, Kentucky / Denver, Colorado

Jackson-Sears, Pandora
Birth Year : 1963
Born in Madisonville, KY, Jackson-Sears is the daughter of Larry and Vivian Lewis. She is president and owner of Jackson-Sears and Associates and has over 17 years of minority and women's business development and diversity experience. In 2003, Gov. Paul Patton appointed her to the Kentucky Commission on the Small Business Advocacy Board. She is also an elementary school teacher in Louisville. She is the author of dipped in milk: conversations between an African-American son and his mother, which examines African American males raised in the suburbs and their struggle to fit in with their inner-city peers. For more see S. Bartholomy, "Parents face split decision," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 05/05/2004, B section, p. 1.
Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Education and Educators, Appointments by Kentucky Governors
Geographic Region: Madisonville, Hopkins County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Jim's Orbit (horse), [Jim Cottrell]
Start Year : 1988
In 1988, Jim Cottrell became one of a handful of African American horse breeders who owned a Thoroughbred that qualified for the Kentucky Derby. His horse, Jim's Orbit, was a three year old at 64-1 odds and finished 10th in the 114th running of the Kentucky Derby. Jim's Orbit was trained by Clarence Picou and ridden by Shane Romero. He was bred in Texas of Orbit Dancer and the mare Gaytimer. Jim Cottrell was a millionaire who was born in Mobile, AL, the son of Helen Smith Cottrell and Comer J. Cottrell, Sr. Jim and his brother Comer Cottrell, Jr. were the owners of Pro-Line, an African American hair care product company, makers of the 'Curly Kit' and the 'Kiddie Kit'. Jim Cottrell left the business in 1983. For more see "Black-owned horse runs in 1988 Kentucky Derby," Jet, 05/30/1988, p.53; S. Crist, "Jim's Oribt wins the Derby trial," The New York Times, 05/01/1988, p.S7; and D. Mcvea, "The House of Cottrell," Dallas Observer, 03/21/1996 [article online].
Subjects: Businesses, Cosmetologists, Beauty Shops, Hairdressers, Beauty Supplies, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Mobile, Alabama / Texas

Johnson, Anita L.
Anita L. Johnson was the first African American elected official in Jeffersontown, KY. She was re-elected to her third term to the Jeffersontown City Council in 2006. She has served as treasurer of the Kentucky Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials. In 1996, Johnson was proprietor of Johnson's Errands for You in Jeffersontown, she was founder and owner of the business, and in 2000 received the Emerging Business Owner Award from the National Association of Women Business Owners. Jeffersontown is located in Jefferson County, KY, and was officially established as the city of Jefferson in 1797. For more see R. Weckman, "Taking care of business," Extension Today, Spring/Summer 2000, p.1, a publication by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture & Cooperative Extension Service [.pdf available online]; and The Honorable Anita L. Johnson in Who's Who in Black Louisville, Inaugural Edition, p.113. For more about Jeffersontown, KY see city website.
Subjects: Businesses, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Jeffersontown, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Johnson, Beverly [James Williams, Sr.]
Birth Year : 1840
In 1858, Beverly Johnson escaped from slavery in Kentucky and made his way north to York, MI. Johnson changed his name to James Williams, Sr. and was a cigar maker; he is listed in the 1860 census. He later established a cigar factory in Saline, MI, and became a farmer. He was the husband of Mary Williams who was born in Ohio, and her mother was from Kentucky [source: 1880 U.S. Federal Census]. The couple had three sons, James Jr., Henry, and Charles. James Williams, Sr. was a widower in 1900, according the census. This was about the same time that his son Charles E. Williams graduated from the University of Michigan Law School and started practicing law in Detroit with Michigan's renowned Negro lawyer, **Robert J. Willis. Under the new civil service law, Charles Williams was appointed a life tenure of office as a general clerk in the Detroit Assessor's Office. For more see "Charles E. Williams" in the Michigan Manual of Freedmen's Progress, compiled by F. H. Warren [available full text online as a .pdf at the Western Michigan University website].

**The mother of Robert Jones Willis was an escape slave from Kentucky, for more see "Michigan gives lawyer a birthday" in Day by Day column by Wm. N. Jones in the Baltimore Afro-American, 05/25/1929, p.6.
Subjects: Businesses, Fathers, Freedom, Lawyers, Migration North
Geographic Region: Kentucky / York and Saline, Washtenaw County, Michigan / Detroit, Michigan

Johnson, Emma White Ja Ja
Emma White, the daughter of former slaves, was born in Kentucky. She was educated and was one of the hundreds of African Americans who migrated to Liberia after the American Civil War. White was not successful with her venture in the West African coastal trade, she lost all of her money, and in 1875 moved to Opobo (today southern Nigeria). Opobo had been established in 1870 by Jubo Jubogha, a former Igbo slave who rose in status and became King of Opobo. He traded in oil palm with Europe. Emma White was employed by Jubogha to write his correspondence, and she was a teacher and governess for his children. Jubogha established a school in Opobo with a Mr. Gooding as the teacher. A second school was opened in Sierra Leon. When Mr. Gooding resigned his post, Emma White became the head of the Opobo school. White was taking on more responsibilities, moving into the inner circle of the King's business affairs and accompanying him on business trips; an article in the Cleveland Gazette refers to her as the "Treasury and Grand Visier" to King Ja Ja. The King had established himself as the middleman between European traders and the interior markets under his jurisdiction. Opobo had become prosperous, it was a major trade center due to King Ja Ja's business, political, and military strategies. In 1873, Jubo Jubogha was recognized by the British government as King of the independent nation of Opobo. But British traders soon tired of having to do business through Opobo with its restrictions, and taxes and tariffs. At the same time, there was threat of a German invasion of West Africa and the established trade business. King Ja Ja agreed to place Opobo under the protection of England. Unbeknown to him, in Europe the 1885 Treaty of Berlin had resulted in the dividing-up of various portions of Africa. It was a move toward colonies and gaining resources that would be governed by Europeans, and the move away from the independence and self-governance of African nations by Africans. England claimed the Oil Rivers Protectorate, which included King Ja Ja's land and the right to direct access to inland trade markets, cutting out King Ja Ja as the middleman. The scramble for Africa included an intentional trade depression of African markets. In Opobo, Emma White had gained significant wealth by 1881, and she retired from Opobo. Two years later she was broke and returned to ask King Ja Ja for assistance. Believing that she had betrayed him, the King prohibited her from entering Opobo. After several appeals, Emma White was again employed by the King. In appreciation, she changed her name to Emma Ja Ja, and kept the name after she married an Opobo man. In the British Parliamentary Papers, Emma Ja Ja Johnson is referred to as King Ja Ja's adopted daughter. In 1887, King Ja Ja signed a treaty of agreement with England to allow free trade in his territory, but the King continued to block attempts at inland trade. He was tricked into boarding the British ship Goshawk to discuss the matter, and was deported to Accra, Gold Coast [today Ghana]. He was accompanied by his wife, Patience, Emma Ja Ja Johnson, a cook, a steward, 3 servants, and a carpenter. In Accra, King Ja Ja was tried and found guilty of actions against the interests of England. As punishment, he was banished from Opobo and further deported to St. Vincent Island in the British West Indies, and provided with between 800 and 1,000 pounds sterling annually. In 1891, King Ja Ja's health was failing and the British government finally gave permission for him to return to Opobo. He died en route. Emma Ja Ja Johnson was banished from Opobo by the British government; she was accused of being the instigator to all the troubles between England and Opobo. For more see King Jaja of the Niger Delta by S. J. S. Cookey; see "Miss Emma [Jackson]..." in the Cleveland Gazette, 04/11/1885, p.2; A History of the Igbo People by E. A. Isichei; British Parliamentary Papers, Africa. No.2 (1888). Command Papers: Accounts and Papers, [c.5365], v.74.149, 19th Century House of Commons Sessional Papers; "The Cannibals of the Opobo," Courier and Middlesex Counties Courier Gazette, 05/11/1889, p.2; and British Parliamentary Papers, Africa No.7 (1888), Reports of the Slave Trade on the East Coast of Africa, 1887-88, Command Papers: Accounts and Papers, [c.5578], v.74.1,. 19th Century House of Commons Sessional Papers.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Liberia and Opobo, Africa

Jones, Abel Bedford and Albert Thomas
Birth Year : 1810
The following information on the Jones brothers comes from Dr. Michael F. Murphy, Historian of Education at the University of Western Ontario; Dr. Murphy is working on a book about the schooling of colored and mulatto children in London, Ontario, Canada between 1826 and 1865. The Jones brothers played a major role in the schooling of these children. The brothers had been slaves in Madison County, KY. Abel was a field-hand and Albert worked for a millwright who owned a large merchant mill. Albert earned enough money to buy his freedom in 1833; he was 23 years old. He also purchased the freedom of Abel and a younger brother. The brothers immigrated to London, Upper Canada (now Ontario). Albert became a barber and merchant, and Abel was a barber and an herbal dentist. The brothers did quite well with their businesses. Abel may have been involved with the African American resettlement program. The brothers were interviewed by Samuel Ringgold Ward, S.G. Howe, and Benjamin Drew when these commentators reported on the condition of fugitive slaves in Canada. Abel's whereabouts are unknown after the mid 1850s. In 1866, Albert, often referred to as Dr. Jones, and his large family left London. Perhaps they returned to Kentucky. The Jones children were Betsy, Paul, Elizabeth, George B., A.O., Frances A., Victoria S?, Torreza O?, Albion, and Princess A. If you have more information or would like more information about Abel and Albert Jones, please contact Dr. Michael F. Murphy at murfy@sympatico.ca.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Education and Educators, Fathers, Freedom, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Dentists
Geographic Region: Madison County, Kentucky / London, (Upper Canada) Ontario, Canada

Jones, Charles Edward
Birth Year : 1879
Death Year : 1947
Charles E. Jones was the owner of Jones Funeral Home in Covington, KY, where he was born. He was the son of E. I. and Amanda Jones. He assisted in the push to get Lincoln-Grant High School built; the school auditorium was named in his honor. Jones was also an active church member, a former president of the Covington NAACP Branch. He was a graduate of the Cincinnati College of Embalming. Jones was a 32nd Degree Mason, and served as Deputy Grand Commander of the State of Kentucky Masons, and was the Past Royal Grand Patron of Eastern Star of Kentucky. He was an Oddfellow, belonged to the Knights of Pythias, the Elks, Mosaics and True Reformer, and the United Brothers of Friendship. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37; Many tried, few defeated William Grant in '50s, '60s, The Cincinnati Post, 02/23/1998; J. Reis, "Jones led church, social causes," The Kentucky Post, 02/02/2004; and Cincinnati's Colored Citizens by W. P. Dabney.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Civic Leaders, Religion & Church Work, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Fraternal Organizations, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky

Kentucky Club Café (Los Angeles, CA)
Start Year : 1929
The Kentucky Club Café, located at 2220 Central Avenue in Los Angeles, California, was named for its Kentucky racing décor. Central Avenue was the entertainment area of the city of Los Angeles. The Kentucky Club opened Thursday, March 14, 1929, as a premier club for African Americans and white Hollywood movie stars. The performers were all African American, headed by Miss Mildred Washington, with dance music by Howard's Quality Serenaders. Dinner cost $1.25, with the opening cover charge $1.50 and the regular cover charge 75 cents. For more see California soul: music of African Americans in the West, by J. C. DjeDje and E. S. Meadows; and the ad "Grand Opening Kentucky Club Café," California Eagle, 03/08/29, p. 6.
Subjects: Businesses, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Kentucky / California

Kentucky Club (New York)
Start Year : 1925
Located on West 49th Street between 7th Avenue and Broadway in New York, the Kentucky Club had previously been called the Hollywood Club. By spring 1925 the club had closed and reopened as the Kentucky Club. Duke Ellington and his Kentucky Club Orchestra, a five-piece band, were the main feature for about two more years before the band left to play at the Cotton Club in 1927. The Kentucky Club is very often mentioned in reference to Duke Ellington and his band. For more on Duke Ellington at the Kentucky Club, see Current Biography, 1941 & 1970. 

See images and listen to East St. Louis Toodle-Oo (1927) HQ - Duke Ellington and his Kentucky Club Orchestra, on YouTube.
Subjects: Businesses, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Kentucky / New York

Kentucky Colony in Washington D.C.
The term "Kentucky Colony" can be found in many sources in reference to a group of Kentuckians living in a particluar area outside the state of Kentucky. The term was also used to refer to the "Kentucky Colony" neighborhood in Washington, D.C. on 10th Street between R and S Streets. The residents were members of the "Kentucky Colony" organization, a networking, society and support group of African Americans from Kentucky who had migrated to Washington, D.C. [There was also a group of whites in Washington, D.C. who were from Kentucky and were referred to as a "Kentucky Colony."] It is not known exactly when the African American Kentucky Colony organized, but they existed in the late 1890s and beyond 1912. The members were fairly well off, and in 1909 were led by Louisville, KY, native H. P. Slaughter [source: see H.P. Slaughter in column "The Week in Society," Washington Bee, 08/07/1909, p.5]. Slaughter was employed by the Government Printing Office in Washington, D.C. Other male members of the Kentucky Colony included James H. Black, William L. Houston, William H. Davis, Shelby J. Davidson, W. H. Wright, Charles E. Payne, Oscar W. Miller, J. C. Vaughn Todd, Louis P. Todd, Leslie Garrison Davis, Alex Payne, and Eugene Jennings [source: "Our Kentucky Colony," Colored American, 08/23/1902, p.9]. The members socialized with one another, and assisted other African Americans of similar means who were coming from Kentucky to live in Washington, D.C. It was the Colored newspapers in Washington, D.C. that first used the term "Kentucky Colony" in print, referring to African Americans in Washington, D.C. "Bluegrass visitors," an article in the Colored American, 07/23/1898, p.7, reported that the group had entertained a delegation of educators from Kentucky who were in D.C. for a National Education Association Meeting. A reception was held for the visitors at the home of Mrs. Anna Weeden, at 1731 10th Street NW. Mrs. Weeden was a widow born 1864 in KY, she owned a boarding house and shared her home with her son Henry and her sister Francis Starks, both of whom were also born in Kentucky. Another article, "Addition to our Kentucky Colony," Colored American, 01/27/1900, p.3, announced the arrival of William H. Davis from Louisville, KY, and his successful passing of the civil service exam, his new job with the government, and his past employment experience. In the Washington Bee column, "The Week in Society," 08/17/1901, p.5, there was mention of the group having entertained a contingency of young women referred to as "charming school maidens of the old Bluegrass State." The Kentucky Colony also kept ties to family and friends in Kentucky. In 1908, the group presented a 24-piece silver set to the newlyweds Jeanette L. Steward and James H. Black who were married on April 15, 1908 at the home of the bride's parents, Mrs. and Mr. W. H. Steward [source: "Our Kentucky Colony give star present at the Black-Steward wedding in Falls City," Washington Bee, 05/02/1908, p.5]. Both Jeanette and James Black were born in Kentucky. James had lived in Washington, D.C. for a few years beginning in 1902 when he was employed at the Government Printing Office [source: "The territory on 10th Street..." in the column "City Paragraphs," Colored American, 05/10/1902, p.15]. After they married, the couple remained in Louisville where James was a post office clerk, his wife Jeanette owned a cafeteria, and they shared their home with school teachers Mary and Myrtle Black [source: 1930 U.S. Federal Census]. In 1912, several members of the Kentucky Colony were in Kentucky as reported in the Freeman, an Indiana newspaper, "Quite a number of the Kentucky Colony, of Washington, D.C., are in the city to cast their votes" [source: Lee L. Brown, "Everybody talking election," Freeman, 11/02/1912, p.8].
Subjects: Businesses, Communities, Migration North, Postal Service, Colonies, Colonization
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Washington, D.C.

Kentucky Colored Fairs
Start Year : 1869
End Year : 1910
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture attempted to collect data on the associations that held fairs in Kentucky, but, for the most part, the data was not reported. The second report was published in 1879, wherein three Colored fair associations and their fairs were reported: Shelby, Bourbon, and Clark Counties. They are listed on p. 419 of the Second Annual Report of the State Bureau of Agriculture, Horticulture, and Statistics (1879), by W. J. Davie [available full-text at Google Book Search]. In addition to the three counties listed in the annual publication, there were many more Colored fairs that took place around the state beginning in the late 1800s. The fairs created business for the cities in which they were held and for the railroad companies. When a Colored fair was held, many times there would be special train services offered from various cities around the state to the fair location, sometimes with reduced round trip rates.

  • In 1869, the Lexington Colored Fair, the largest in the state, was held on Georgetown Pike. It may have been the first Colored fair in Kentucky. [See the 1869 Lexington Colored Fair entry in NKAA.] [Lexington is located in Fayette County.]
  • In 1870, the first colored fair for Simpson and Logan Counties was held. The fair did well for three years, netting $3,000 in 1870, then the profits fell off. The fair had been organized by the Agriculture and Mechanical Association in Simpson and Logan Counties. Two of the founders of the organization were Elijah P. Marrs and his brother H. C. Marrs. The project was started with $750 the brothers raised by selling 50 subscriptions (stock) that went for $15 each. H. C. Marrs was president, E. P. Marrs, secretary, and James Flint and James Tyree secured the property for the fair. The men purchased 42 acres for $4,200. When the profits began to fall, E. P. Marrs sold his stock. [Source: Ante-bellum free Negroes as race leaders in Virginia and Kentucky during Reconstruction (thesis) by C. B. King, p. 134.]
  • In 1874, the Kentucky General Assembly set restrictions against selling beverages and alcohol within one mile of the Bourbon County Colored Fair. The fair was managed by the Agricultural and Mechanical Association of the Colored People of Bourbon County. [See the Agricultural and Mechanical Association of the Colored People of Bourbon County entry in NKAA.]
  • In 1878, a Colored Fair was held in Abdallah Park in Harrison County. [See the Harrison County Colored Fair entry in NKAA.]
  • In 1879, a Colored Fair had been held in Clark County. In 1910, the Clark County Colored Fair Association was formed with President J. C. Hopewell, Vice-President John Pervine, Recording Secretary C. H. Curry, Corresponding Secretary H. P. Alexander, Treasurer J. W. Bates, and Assistant Treasurer Woodson Miller. The organization planned their first fair for 1911.
  • In 1897, a Colored Fair was held in Springfield. The fair was raided by Sheriff Baughman and his posse due to gaming operations: "sure things," a wheel of fortune," bee hive," and the "tin horse steal." In 1900, the Washington County Colored Fair Association held their fair September 20-23. The fair was referred to as the Springfield Colored Fair and as the Washington County Colored Fair. In 1902 and 1903 the fair was a loss financially and attendance was down.
  • In 1898, the Danville Colored Fair was held August 24-27. [Danville is located in Boyle County.]
  • In 1898, the Stanford Colored Fair was held September 30-October 1. [Stanford is located in Lincoln County.]
  • In 1899, the Louisville Colored Fair was held during the month of August. Round trip train fare was available from Mt. Vernon to Louisville for August 25 and 26. In 1900, the L & N Railroad service provided a special rate from Hopkinsville, with return on August 15 and 16 from Louisville. In 1910, the Louisville Colored Fair Association held its fair September 21-24. The Illinois Central provided round trip train service from Hopkinsville to Louisville for $5.38. [Louisville is located in Jefferson County.]
  • In 1900, Professor J. F. Gray from Russellville, traveled to Earlington to advertise the second fair to be held in Guthrie, October 11-13, by the Guthrie Colored Fair Association. [Guthrie is located in Todd County.]
  • In 1900, the Hustonville Colored Fair Company had a loss of 35 cents on its fair held August 15-18. The fair included a cake walk and a baseball game. [Hustonville is located in Lincoln County.]
  • In 1900, the Illinois Central provided round trip train service from Hopkinsville to Paducah for the Colored Fair, September 12-14. In 1908, a Colored fair association was formed in Paducah with the intention of having a fair in either August or September of 1909. [Paducah is located in McCracken County.]
  • In 1900, the first Colored Fair was held in Richmond by the Young Men's Agricultural and Mechanical Association. The event was held at the Richmond Fair Grounds, August 23-25. In 1901, E. M. Embry was president of the organization, and B. F. Stone was secretary. [Richmond is located in Madison County.]
  • In 1900, the Shelbyville Colored Fair was held September 5-7, one week after the Shelbyville Fair for whites. Southern Railroad offered services at low rates from various cities to Shelbyville. In 1924, the New Colored Shelby County Association, Inc. held their third annual fair. [See the New Colored Shelby County Fair Association, Inc. entry in NKAA.]
  • In 1900, the Stamping Ground Colored Fair was again being held at Wash's Woods. [See the Stamping Ground Colored Fair entry in NKAA.] [Stamping Ground is located in Scott County.]
  • In 1901, the Newburg Colored Fair was held in September. The Illinois Central provided round trip service from Hopkinsville, with a transfer in Princeton, then on to Louisville, with a return on September 6, at $2.50. [Newburg is located in Jefferson County.]
  • In 1901, the Owensboro Colored Fair was held August 29-31. For those attending the fair from Beaver Dam, a round trip train ticket cost $1.25. In 1903, the Owensboro Colored Fair was held in October. [Owensboro is located in Daviess County.]
  • In 1902 and in 1903, the Lincoln County and Garrard County Colored Fair Association held its fair at the Stanford Fair Grounds. In 1903 the fair was held August 27-29 in the woodlands on Danville Avenue, the property of Mrs. Nora M. Goodknight. The fair association officers were W. M. Jones, President; Alex Miller, Vice-President; W. H. Harris, Secretary; and J. Miller Broaddus, Assistant-Secretary. In 1905, the combined county fair was held in Lancaster, August 24-26. By 1906, the union was dissolved and Lincoln and Garrard Counties were holding their own Colored fairs in their respective counties.
  • In 1903, the Colored Fair held in Frankfort was not a success. In 1905, the Frankfort Colored Fair was held September 12-16. During the fair, the Ninth Battalion, Ohio National Guard, an all African American unit, was to hold their annual encampment in Lexington rather than Frankfort. Lexington officials had sought and received permission from Kentucky Governor Beckham to allow the Ninth Battalion to enter the state bearing arms. In 1906, the Colored Fair Association held its fair at Glenwood Park, September 6-8. By 1908, the organization name had changed to the Frankfort County Colored Agricultural and Industrial Association. [Frankfort is located in Franklin County.]
  • In 1904, the Henry County Colored Fair was held September 29-October 1. The L&N Railroad sold tickets to Eminence at a rate of one fair plus 25 cents for the round trip. [Source: "Eminence, Ky." in the column "L. and N. Special Rate Column within the Lexington Herald, 10/02/1904, p. 3].
  • In 1905, the Harrodsburg Colored Fair was held, and in 1906 the Harrodsburg Colored Fair Association was included in the List of National, State, and Local Commercial Organizations, compiled by the Interstate Commerce Commission, p. 172 {Google Book Search}. [Harrodsburg is located in Mercer County.]
  • In 1905, the Scott County Colored Fair was held August 9-12.
  • In 1905, the Midway Colored Fair was held at the end of August, 1905. [Source: "The Midway Colored Fair...," Lexington Herald, 09/14/1905, p. 8.] [Midway is in Woodford County.]
  • In 1906, the Hardin County Colored Fair was held in Elizabethtown, September 28 and 29. The L&N Railroad offered round trip service from Mt. Vernon to Elizabethtown for $3.85.
  • In 1906, the Nelson County Colored Fair was led by 78 year old Jarvis Wilson.
  • In 1907, the Christian County Colored Fair was held in Hopkinsville at the Horse Show grounds in September.
  • In 1907, the success of the combined Lincoln and Garrard County Colored Fairs prompted a separate Colored Fair in Lancaster, August 8-10. The Lancaster Fair Association was led by African Americans from Lancaster and Garrard County. The fair was canceled for 1910 by the association president George Morgan and secretary James B. Williams due to a misunderstanding about the cost of renting the fair grounds. [Lancaster is located in Garrard County.]
  • In 1907, the first Laurel County Colored Fair was held September 27 and 28 in London. It was during the baseball game that Russell Dyche, editor of the London Sentinel, was struck by a baseball and taken to Louisville, KY, for eye surgery.
  • In 1908, a Colored Fair Association was being formed in Berea; it had hoped to hold a fair in September of that year. The Berea Fair Association voted to rent the fair grounds to the Colored association. [Berea is located in Madison County.]
  • In 1908, the Knox County Colored Fair Association was incorporated in July and planned to hold its first fair, a two day event, a few months later. The association executive members were President Jeff Etter, Vice President J. W. Mullins, Secretary Mary L. Jones, and Treasurer J. J. Croley. The Knox County Colored Fair Association was one of the few in Kentucky to have a woman on the executive committee.
  • In 1909, the Montgomery County Colored Fair Association had its fair at the Mt. Sterling Fair Grounds, September 22-25. [See the Montgomery County Colored Fair Association entry in NKAA.]
  • In 1910, the Glasgow Colored Fair was held October 6-9. [Glasgow is located in Barren County.]
  • In 1901, a Colored Fair Association was formed in Nicholasville, and the first meeting was held at the Knights of Pythias fair grounds on September 2 and 3. Nicholasville is located in Jessamine County. See Colored fair association...in "Colored Notes," Lexington Leader, 08/07/1910, p. 16.

For more see "Look out for them" in the News-Leader, 09/02/1897, p. 2; "Colored Fair at Danville" in the Central Record, 07/15/1898, p. 1; "The Stanford Journal says..." in the Central Record, 09/16/1898, p. 1; "One fair for the round trip..." in the Mount Vernon Signal, 08/25/1899, p. 3; "Our Colored citizens" in The Bee, 10/04/1900, p. 7; "The Hustonville Colored Fair Company..." in the Central Record, 08/23/1900, p. 1; "The Catalogues for the colored fair" in the Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, 07/27/1900, p. 3; "Special rates via L & N..." in the Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 08/10/1900, p. 8; "Account of Colored Fair..." in the Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 09/07/1900, p. 8; "The first Colored fair ever..." in the Citizen, 08/29/1900, p. 1; "Low rates via Southern Railroad" in the Mt. Sterling Advocate, 08/28/1900, p. 1; "Colored Folks" in the News-Leader, 09/20/1900, p. 1; "Colored fair here" in the Richmond Climax, 08/08/1900, p. 3; "Louisville return $2.50" in the Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 08/16/1901, p. 7; "On account of Owensboro Colored Fair..." in the Hartford Herald, 08/21/1901, p. 1; "The Colored fair held here..." in the Frankfort Roundabout, 10/03/1903, p. 8; "Big Colored Fair" in the Central Record, 04/24/1903, p. 1; "John and Edmund Holland attended the Owensboro Colored Fair Saturday" in The Bee, 10/08/1903, p. 6; "Allowed to bear arms" in the Citizen, 07/27/1905, p. 7; "Colored Fair in Lancaster" in the Central Record, 06/30/1905, p. 1; "Reduced tickets to Scott County Colored Fair. Georgetown, Ky" in The Blue-grass Blade, 08/06/1905, p. 3; "Colored People's Fair" in The Frankfort Roundabout, 08/18/1906, p. 2; "Reduced rates" in the Mount Vernon Signal, 09/14/1906, p. 3; "Proud of his record" in the Springfield Sun, 04/25/1906, p. 1; "The colored fair will be held..." in the Central Record, 07/19/1907, p. 1; "The First annual exhibition..." in the Citizen, 09/12/1907, p. 8; "Colored Fair" in the Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 09/21/1907, p. 1; "Shattered Glass" in the Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 10/01/1907, p. 4; "Berea and vicinity" in the Citizen, 03/12/1908, p. 3; "Knox County Colored Fair Association" in the Mountain Advocate, 06/26/1908, p. 3; "Colored citizens may have a fair next fall" in The Paducah Evening Sun, 05/26/1908, p. 6; "Colored Fair," Mount Sterling Advocate, 09/15/1909, p. 6; "Glasgow colored fair, October 6, three days" in the Hartford Herald, 07/27/1910, p. 1; "Louisville Colored Fair Ass'n" in the Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 09/24/1910, p. 4; "Colored Column: On the night of October 27..." in the Winchester News, 10/29/1910, p. 4.

**All articles and additional information are available online at Kentucky Digital Library - Newspapers.
Subjects: Businesses, Colored Fairs & Black Expos, Fraternal Organizations, Railroad, Railway, Trains
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Key Newsjournal (newspaper)
Start Year : 2004
The Key Newsjournal newspaper was founded in 2003 by Patrice K. and LaMaughn Muhammad. The paper is published by LexTown Publications, a company also owned by the Muhammads. The newspaper, published biweekly, focuses on the African American population in Central Kentucky. Initially, the paper was available in Winchester, Richmond, Berea, Nicholasville, Frankfort, and Georgetown. The circulation region has expanded over the past five years. It is only the second of two newspapers in Lexington to focus on the African American community since the early 1900s. The other publication, Community Voice, ceased publication in 2001. In addition to the newspaper, Patrice Muhammad also has a radio show, Key Conversations, that is broadcast Sundays at 10 a.m. on Groovin 1580AM, also available online. LexTown Publications also publishes The Lexington and Central Kentucky Black Book, a resource directory. Patrice Muhammad is a native of Detroit, MI, and a graduate of Central State University. For more see R. Brim, "Paper to feature Black news," Lexington Herald-Leader, 01/15/2004, Business section, p. C1; and the Key Newsjournal website.
Subjects: Businesses, Directories, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Radio, Migration South
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan

King, Norris Curtis
Birth Year : 1894
Death Year : 1960
Dr. Norris Curtis King was the founder of Curtis King Hospital in Newnan, GA, and in 1941, the Rose Netta Hospital in Los Angeles, CA. Dr. King was born in Princeton, KY, the son of Dee and Nettie Metcalf King. The family of four moved to Cairo, IL, and lived on Poplar Street, according to the 1900 U.S. Census. Norris King completed high school in Cairo, and by 1910, his father had died and the family of three was living in Louisville, KY, on W. Chestnut Street [source: U.S. Federal Census]. Norris was employed as a presser in a tailor shop, and his brother Cassius was a roller in an iron foundry. By 1920, Norris and his mother lived in Nashville, TN, where Norris King was a student at Roger Williams University [source: U.S. Federal Census]. He continued his education and was a 1924 graduate of Meharry Medical School [now Meharry Medical College]. Norris King moved to Newnan, GA, where he opened his medical practice and later founded the Curtis King Hospital. His specialty was the prevention and cure of venereal diseases. While in Newnan, GA, Norris King met and married Rosa Mae Webb, who was a nurse. The couple had a daughter, and in 1929 the family moved to, Los Angeles, CA, where Dr. King founded the Rose Netta Hospital. It was said to be an interracial hospital because the employees were Negroes, Mexicans, Japanese and White assistants. While in California, Dr. King was also head of the Los Angeles Venereal Clinic and several other clinics. The first interracial blood bank was was established at the Rose Netta Hospital by the Red Cross in 1942. Dr. Norris C. King was the sponsor of the "Craftsman of Black Wings," a Negro aviator and student group seeking to become licensed pilots. Dr. King also owned and bred palomino horses on his ranch in Elsinore, CA. He was a member of the Palomino Horse Association and several other organizations, and he was a 33rd Degree Mason. He was a WWI veteran, and received a certificate of merit and selective service medal for outstanding work during WWII. Dr. Norris Curtis King died December 29, 1960 in Riverside, CA [source: California Death Index]. For more see Norris Curtis King on p.32 in Negro Who's Who in California, 1948 edition; "Dr. Norris Curtis King," Jet, 01/19/1961, p.17; "Dr. Norris Curtis King," J.A.M.A., 05/20/1961, p.143; and “Rose-Netta Hospital, L.A.,” Opportunity, 08/20/1942, p.429.
Subjects: Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Migration South, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky / Cairo, Illinois / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Nashville, Tennessee / Newnan, Georgia / Los Angeles, California

Kleizer, Louisa and Mary (sisters)
The following information comes from the unpublished manuscript Tracking Free Black Women in Bourbon County: the Intriguing Case of the Kleizer Women, by Nancy O'Malley.

 

As part of a larger ongoing project to gather information about free people of color, particularly women, in Bourbon County, Kentucky, the existence of two sisters, Louisa Warren and Mary Malvina Kleizer, was uncovered. They owned property and were businesswomen in Paris and both sisters eventually “passed for white”. They are thought to be the daughters of Bourbon County blacksmith Henry Kleizer, who  died intestate in 1836, probably on his farm of 147 acres on the Iron Works Road. The inventory of his estate included “1 Negro woman and 2 children” valued at $800. On July 4, 1836, Henry’s father, John Kleizer, acting on his son’s request, freed the woman, 42 year old Jude, an African American, and her two mulatto daughters, 14 year old Louisa Warren, and 12 year old Mary Malvina. Sadly, Jude died of cholera in 1849.

 

On May 29, 1850, Louisa and Mary Kleizer purchased a house and lot on Main Street in Paris, KY, for $800 from William and Catherine P. Duke. The lot was part of in-lot 14 near the corner of Main and Mulberry (now 5th) Streets. The property corresponds to 428 Main Street where the City Club is now located. Louisa's 8 year old daughter named Ellen Burch, a mulatto, lived with the two sisters. When they were censused in 1850, Louisa was 24 years old and was not listed with an occupation nor could she read or write. Mary was 22 years old, also without an occupation, but was able to read and write. Ellen Burch had attended school during the year.

 

George W. Ingels, a white stable keeper, began a relationship with Mary Kleizer that resulted in the birth of four children by the next census in 1860. The two sisters, under the spelling of Cliser, are listed as living together in Paris and working as confectioners. Their real estate had increased in value to $1400, split between them, with a combined personal worth of $1000. Mary’s children included Jennie Elizabeth aged 8, Louisa aged 5, George W. aged 3, and Mollie aged 1.

 

In 1867, Mary and George moved with their children to Cincinnati, Ohio, leaving Louisa Kleizer and Ellen Burch in Paris, KY. Williams’ 1868 Cincinnati Directory listed George W. Ingels as a partner in the firm Arnold, Bullock & Co. James L. Arnold, Thomas L. Arnold, W.K. Bullock and George W. Ingels were wholesale grocers, commission merchants and liquor dealers at 49 W. Front Street. In the 1869 directory, George was associated with J. L. Arnold in a coal dealership under the firm name of Arnold & Ingels. George W. Ingels appears in the 1870 census for Cincinnati, Ohio, living with Mary who assumed his surname as did their children. Mary and her children are all identified as mulatto in this census. Two more children, Hiram, aged 8, and Birchie (a nickname for Burch), a daughter aged 5, had been born in Kentucky since the last census.

 

In the 1870 census, Louisa Kleizer is a notions and fancy goods merchant in Paris, KY, and her daughter Ellen Burch was working as her clerk. The 1860 census indicated that Louisa had married within the year, but no evidence was found to indicate that she had a husband. She is not listed with a husband in 1870.

 

In October of 1880, George and Mary Ingels sold Mary’s half-interest in the Paris Main Street property to Louisa Kleizer for $900. Louisa was living by herself by this time and was listed as a widow without an occupation. No record of any marriage was found in the Bourbon County records for Louisa Kleizer.

 

In the 1880 census record, Mary is still listed as mulatto, all of her and George’s children are listed as white. The family lived on Hopkins Street and was still living there in 1890. Mary and George Ingels lived in Cincinnati for the rest of their lives. By 1900, they were living on Wesley Avenue just a few blocks from their former home on Hopkins Street. The census taker incorrectly spelled their name as Engalls. George reported that he was 76 years old, born in February of 1824 and married for 47 years. He was a landlord. His wife Mary was identified as white rather than mulatto. She was 75 years old, born in February of 1825.

 

George W. Ingels died on July 23, 1901 and was buried in the Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati. His “wife” followed him in death on May 24, 1907 and was buried beside him. [They could not have been legally married while in Kentucky since interracial marriage was prohibited, and they may never have formally solemnized their relationship. Interracial marriage was not legalized in Ohio until 1887. No marriage record has been found for George and Mary Ingels although they clearly considered themselves married.] All of their children remained in Cincinnati and were buried in the family lot at Spring Grove Cemetery.

 

Louisa Kleizer’s whereabouts are unknown between 1881 when she purchased an easement along an alley on one side of her property on Main Street in Paris, KY, and December 17, 1902 when she died in Massachusetts. Limited evidence suggests that she left Paris and moved to Springfield, Massachusetts where her daughter, Ellen Burch, was living with her husband, a white man named Charles Knight, and their children. After the Civil War, he worked as an armorer at the U.S. Armory until his death at age 65 on August 9, 1904.

 

Ellen, who went by the name Ella, also crossed the boundary between white and black. Her husband was a New Hampshire native who fought in the Civil War with a New Hampshire company and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for meritorious conduct at the Battle of the Crater. Charles and Ella had three daughters, Clara Louise born in February of 1879, Sarah Elizabeth born in July of 1880, and Laura Gertrude born in July of 1883.

 

No record was found for Louisa Kleizer in the 1900 census in either Bourbon County or Massachusetts. Her death date was discovered in a deed that was filed when Ella Knight and her daughters sold Louisa’s property on Main Street in Paris, KY, in 1910. The deed stated that Louisa Knight had died intestate in Springfield, Massachusetts “about four years” earlier. The place of Louisa’s death was incorrect in the deed; she actually died in Northampton about 15 miles north of Springfield but was buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Springfield. Louisa's daughter, Ella M. Burch Knight, died in 1932, and she and her family are also buried in Oak Grove Cemetery.

 

Louisa’s death record confirms that her father was Henry Kleizer; her mother’s name is recorded as Julia rather than Judith with the surname Johnson.

 

Sources:

 

Ancestry.com website

 

Bourbon County deed books, County Clerk’s office, Paris, Kentucky

Samuel B. Kleizer to Henry Kleizer, July 20, 1833, Deed Book Z, p. 616.

William and Caroline P. Duke to Louisa and Mary Kleizer, May 29, 1850, Deed Book 44, p. 332.

George W. and Mary Ingels to Louisa Kleizer, October 27, 1880, Deed Book 65, p. 54.

Charles Henry and Louisa Singer to Louisa Kleizer, need date, Deed Book 65, p. 363.

Ella M. Knight, Clara Louise Knight, Sarah Elizabeth Knight, and Laura Gertrude Knight to W.W. Mitchell and William Blakemore, February 19, 1910, Deed Book 96, p. 330.

 

Bourbon County manumission book, County Clerk’s office, Paris, Kentucky, deed of emancipation from John Kleizer to Jude and her daughters, Louisa Warren and Mary Malvina, July 4, 1836.

 

Historical Census Browser, 2004, Retrieved 13 November 2013, University of Virginia, Geospatial and Statistical Data Center: http://mapserver.lib.virginia.edu

 

Inventory of Henry Kleizer, Bourbon County Will Book K, p. 204, June 14, 1836, County Clerk’s office, Paris, Kentucky

 

Federal censuses, Bourbon County, Kentucky and Hamilton County, Ohio; various years

 

Find-A-Grave website for George W. Ingels family

 

Mapquest.com website

 

Paris True Kentuckian, October 4, 1871 issue (Original at the Bourbon County Citizen/Citizen Advertiser office in Paris)

 

Sanborn Insurance maps, Kentucky Digital Library website

 

For more information contact

Nancy O'Malley, Assistant Director

William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology and

Office of State Archaeology

1020A Export Street

University of Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky 40506

Ph. 859-257-1944

FAX: 859-323-1968
Subjects: Businesses, Fathers, Freedom, Migration North, Mothers, Interracial Marriage and State Laws
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio / Springfield and Northampton, Massachusetts

Knight, David Lawson
Birth Year : 1865
Death Year : 1922
In 1897, David L. Knight established the first transfer line in Louisville, KY, owned by an African American, and he claimed to be the first to hire an African American woman as bookkeeper and stenographer. The transfer business involved hauling freight for export or import, as explained by W. T. Garnett, a transfer agent in Louisville, KY. Knight was president of the Negro Business League of Louisville in 1909, the year that the National Negro Business League held its 10th Annual Convention in Louisville. Kentucky Governor A. E. Willson and Louisville Mayor James F. Grinstead [Greenstead] were on hand to welcome the association to Kentucky. David L. Knight was born in Kentucky, he was the husband of Fannie Terance. According to the U.S. Federal Census, by 1910, David L. Knight was a widower with three children: Robert (20), Leona (16), Josephine (18). Robert (1890-1926) was a teamster with his father's transfer business. The family lived on South 18th Street in Louisville, KY. Though he is listed in Caron's Dirctory of the City of Louisville, for 1923, p.2315, David Lawson Knight died October 9, 1922 according to death certificate registered# 3152. For more see p.21 in A History of Blacks in Kentucky by M. B. Lucas and G. C. Wright; C. B. Lewis, "Louisville and its Afro-American citizens," Colored American Magazine, vol.10, no.3-4, pp.259-265; see Records of the National Negro Business League, Part 1 Annual Conference Proceedings and Organizational Records, 1900-1919: D. L. Knight, "Transfer Business" [frame 248], and W. T. Garnett, "Transfer Business" [frame 273] both at the 3rd Annual Convention, Richmond, Virginia, August 25-27, 1902, reel 1; and "First Day's Session," 10th Annual Convention, Louisville, KY, August 18-20, 1909, reel 2, frames 148-167.
Subjects: Businesses, Accountants, Bookkeepers, Certified Public Accountants, Stenographers, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Knights of Pythias Temple (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1893
Two African American Knights of Pythias lodges are listed in the 1893 Louisville City Directory. The Temple at 928-932 West Chestnut Street, built in 1914-1915 at a cost of $130,000, served as the Knights' headquarters and housed a drugstore, movie theater, offices, a restaurant, and hotel rooms for men. The ballroom on the sixth floor and the garden on the roof were used for parties and dances. In 1925, 25,000  attendees came to Louisville for the National Pythian Convention. In 1953, the building was sold to the Chestnut Street YMCA. The building, still in use today, is located across the street from the Western Branch Library. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The building also has a Kentucky Historical Marker (#1662). For more see marker #1662 in the Kentucky Historical Marker Database; and Black Heritage Sites: an African American Odyssey and Finder's Guide, by N. C. Curtis.
Subjects: Businesses, Civic Leaders, Fraternal Organizations, YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association), Theater: Companies, Education, Exhibitions, Performers, and Performances in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Lawson, Daniel C.
Birth Year : 1945
Lawson was born in Louisville, KY. After leaving his position as marketing sales manager at Gulf Oil Co., Lawson was appointed assistant transit administrator for the city of Houston by Houston, Texas, Mayor Fred Hofheinz. He left that post to become the first marketing manager for the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority. Lawson was later founder and president of Marketing and Sales Unlimited, Inc. and Lawson National Distributing Co. of Houston, Texas. He was also a noted football player at Oklahoma State University. For more see Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers of Kentucky, by J. B. Horton.
Subjects: Businesses, Football, Migration West
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Houston, Texas

Lawson, William H.
Birth Year : 1840
Death Year : 1913
Lawson was born in Maysville, KY, the son of Robert Lawson. He attended school in Ripley, OH. His family moved to Louisville in 1856 and was listed as free in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census. The family included William; his mother, M. Lawson, who was employed as a wash woman; and two other children. William was training to become a painter, decorator, and photographer. In 1872 he ran unsuccessfully for Marshall of the City Court. From 1879-1886, he operated a photography studio at 319 W. Walnut Street. He was later a U.S. store-keeper and an artist. William Lawson served with the 122nd Regiment of the U. S. Colored Troops; he was a quartermaster sergeant. He helped organize the United Brothers of Friendship and served as a state and national Grand Master. He was also a published poet. William Lawson was married to Emeline Lawson, who was born in 1857 in Tennessee. He was later married to Elizabeth [Lizzie] Lawson. For more see the "W. H. Lawson" entry in Weeden's History of the Colored People of Louisville, by H. C. Weeden; and J. C. Anderson, "Photography," p. 703, middle column, in The Encyclopedia of Louisville, edited by J. E. Kleber.
Subjects: Artists, Fine Arts, Businesses, Military & Veterans, Photographers, Photographs, Poets
Geographic Region: Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Lightfoot, Carter
Birth Year : 1794
Death Year : 1845
This entry was researched, written and submitted by
Nancy O’Malley, Assistant Director
William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology and
Office of State Archeology
1020A Export Street
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 40506
Ph. 859-257-1944
FAX: 859-323-1968

Carter Lightfoot was a free black man who lived in Paris, Kentucky where he made a living as a barber. Nothing is known of his early life or the circumstances of his freedom.  However, he was free by 1830 when he is listed in the Bourbon County federal census as the head of a household of four, including himself (between 36 and 55 years of age), an adult female between 24 and 36 years of age, and a male and a female both between 10 and 24 years. The older female may have been his wife, Jane, although she was still technically a slave in 1830. On April 4, 1831, Carter purchased Jane’s freedom from John Harvey (alternately spelled Hervie) of Frankfort. The manumission record described him as 37 years old, with yellow skin color (a common way to identify light-skinned people of color), 5’ 3 ½” in height "spare but of good size" and with a scar on his left nostril. The manumission record indicated that Carter signed with his mark. 
 

Two white men, named Joseph (abbreviated as Jos.) and possibly Josiah (abbreviated as Jos’h) Lightfoot, and living in separate households, are also listed in the 1830 census for Bourbon County and may have some connection to Carter. Only one of the men, Jos’h (Josiah), owned slaves.
 

The other two younger household members are unidentified but probably were not his children. In late June of 1833, Carter Lightfoot had his will prepared, possibly in reaction to the cholera that was raging through Kentucky at the time and aware that he might be one of its victims. His will instructed his executor, John G. Martin, to pay all his debts and leave the rest of his property to his wife Jane. Of their children, he wrote, “If she [Jane] could in any way be instrumental with the property I have given her above in obtaining the freedom of my children by her I greatly desire it."
 

Carter may have also wished to secure his wife’s inheritance of the house and lot after his death. His will made reference to a house and lot that he owned in Paris. On March 29, 1831, Carter entered into a mortgage agreement with Aris Throckmorton, Joseph Biggs and J. C. Smith in which they served as security for the purchase of the house and lot referred to in the will. Carter and the three men negotiated a promissory note for $550.00 that enabled the purchase of the property, giving Carter until October of 1831 to pay the note back. This he managed to do and the deed was formally transferred to him on October 20, 1831. The property lay on the northwesterly side of Main Street and was part of inlot 2. Carter’s lot fronted 13 ½ ft on Main Street, extending back 72 ft. It was sandwiched between an impressive three story commission house belonging to Charles S. Brent and a building that occupied the corner of Main Street and present day 2nd Street. Its current address is 203 Main Street. The building on the lot today is a two story brick commercial building with a heavy Italiante cornice both on the shopfront and at the roofline. Langsam and Johnson (1985) suggest that this building was built after 1877. If this is so, it replaced the earlier building purchased and occupied by Carter Lightfoot from approximately 1830 until 1845 when he died; his wife Jane may have lived here a few years longer, possibly to 1851, when a court appointed administrator sold it to Benedict B. Marsh.
 

Around the time Carter Lightfoot bought his Main Street property in Paris, he submitted an advertisement in the local Paris newspaper, The Western Citizen. The ad appeared in an 1831 issue but is dated October 30, 1830 so must have run multiple times. It read:

CARTER LIGHTFOOT

BARBER, HAIR-DRESSER, &C

RESPECTFULLY informs his customers and the public generally that he has settled himself permanently in Paris and may be found at his shop, opposite Timberlake’s Hotel, where he will accommodate all those who may please to call on him. Those having demands against him, will present them for payment—and those indebted will please recollect that punctuality is the life of business.

The ad is interesting for several reasons. It indicates that he had taken possession of his Main Street property by October of 1830, possibly renting it with the intent to purchase, and operated his barbering business there. He probably also lived there, a common practice of tradesmen of the time. He acknowledged having some personal debts which he was in a position to repay and was owed money that he wished to collect. Although he was apparently illiterate, the wording of the ad suggests a certain gentility and refinement in its use of the adage about punctuality in paying one’s debts. Finally, the postscript references the continuation of his services from an earlier time, perhaps on a more itinerant basis, in which he traveled to his customers rather than working out of a shop. With the acquisition of a shop on the main street of the county seat, however, he took his place as one of the town’s businessmen with a social status that greatly contrasted with the status of a slave or even a free black laborer of lesser skills. It is also possible that he was the only barber in business in Paris in the 1830s and early 1840s. Five years after his death in 1845, only one black barber, George Morgan, was identified as such in the 1850 federal census and, like Carter Lightfoot, he owned real estate—probably in Paris and possibly next to a hotel operated by Charles Talbott.
 

Barbering was an occupation with some intriguing social implications between the barber and his customers. By the 19th century, the occupation of barber had become closely associated with African-Americans, largely due to the common practice of the white elite to have their hair cut and beards shaved by slaves. This association led to a decline in status of barbers among whites and a decline in white competition. Free blacks benefited as a result even though their clientele was, by necessity, exclusively white, a practice that tended to encourage segregation of barbering services and placed black barbers in the position of being dependent on white clients for their livelihood. Given the very personal nature of cutting and dressing hair and its relationship to personal image and appearance, barbers had to be very careful in performing their services. Complaints about barber shop hygiene were common and barbers were cautioned to disinfect their tools at an early date. Many customers brought their own brushes, razors and towels when they visited a barber to avoid infection.
 

Carter Lightfoot’s household was again censused in 1840. Only three people were listed: a man and a woman who were between 36 and 54 years of age (Carter and Jane) and a male between 10 and 23. Two of the persons in the household were employed in manufacture and trade. One of these was undoubtedly Carter whose barbering business would have been considered a trade. It’s probable that their children were still held as slaves.
 

Carter died in 1845 and his wife appears to have followed him in death by 1851 when their house and lot were sold by a court appointed agent to Benedict B. Marsh to settle their estate. None of the probate documents associated with the Lightfoot estate mentioned any children and their whereabouts, even their names are unknown. Marsh sold the house and lot in 1855 to another free man of color, Jefferson Porter. Eleven years later, Porter sold the property and the adjoining corner lot to Robert P. Dow and John Hickey. Robert Dow established a prominent commercial presence on this corner as a grocer.
 

Carter Lightfoot was one of only a few men of color who owned property in Paris prior to the Civil War. His profession as a barber was a higher status one for men of color that required more specialized skills and catered to an exclusively white clientele. In many parts of the south, a black barber had either white or black clients but not generally both. It is likely that Lightfoot sought white clients since he went to the trouble of advertising his establishment of a barber shop in Paris in the local newspaper. Had his clients been men of color, he would not have had to advertise in the local paper since many free black men could not read or write. While he did not speculate in urban lots or acquire any other city or county property than his house/barbershop on Main Street, he must, for a time, have been a well known fixture around town. The fate of other Lightfoot family members is unknown. Neither Carter nor his wife Jane succeeded in procuring the freedom of their children before the Civil War abolished slavery. Their children may have lived in Franklin County where Jane’s former master, John Hervie, lived in 1830. With the demise of Carter and Jane Lightfoot within a few years of each other, and no evidence that any of their heirs came forward to claim the estate, the proceeds of the sale of their property on Main Street might have been used to settle their debts and/or added to the city’s coffers as unclaimed assets.
 

Sources:

  • Bourbon County deeds
  • Federal census returns for 1830, 1840 and 1850
  • 1831 Western Citizen on file, The Bourbon Citizen/Citizen Advertiser office, Paris, Ky.
  • Julie Ann Hurst (2005), "Barbershops in Harrisburg’s Old Eighth, 1890-1905,"Vol. 72, no. 4, pp. 443-453, Pennsylvania History.
  • Walter E. Langsam and William Gus Johnson (1985), Historic Architecture of Bourbon County, Kentucky. Historic Paris-Bourbon County, Inc., Paris, and Kentucky Heritage Council, Frankfort.

Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Freedom
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Logan, Greenbury
Birth Year : 1799
Death Year : 1880
Greenbury (or Greenberry) Logan was born in Kentucky, the son of David Logan, who was white. Greenbury may or may not have been a slave, though he was free when he left Kentucky for Missouri, where he was married and had five children. In 1831, Logan moved to Texas and became a blacksmith on the Bingham Plantation; he was one of the first African Americans to settle in Texas. He purchased the freedom of a slave name Caroline and married her. Logan fought at Velasco and later joined the Texas army and fought at Bexar, where he was wounded in the shoulder and lost use of one arm. No longer able to be a blacksmith, Logan and his wife opened a successful boarding house in Brazoria. The Constitution of 1836 stipulated that all freemen were to leave the Republic of Texas; Logan, like Nelson Kavanaugh, filed a petition with Congress, asking that he be allowed to remain in Texas. Whether the Texas Congress replied or not, the Logans remained in Texas, but their financial success began in decline in 1839. By 1845 they had lost all of their property. For more see Greenbury Logan, by N. Thompson, at The Handbook of Texas Online website; several articles in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, including H. Schoen, "The Free Negro in the Republic of Texas," vol. 41, issue 1, pp. 83-108; and In Search of the Racial Frontier: African Americans in the American West, by Q. Taylor.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Blacksmiths
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Brazoria, Texas

Luckett, William Benjamin, Sr.
Birth Year : 1852
Death Year : 1922
In 1887, William B. Luckett established what is thought to be the first public transfer line [local bus service] and street car in Frankfort, KY. It was his intent to meet every train coming into Frankfort with his new horse drawn* omnibus that would take passengers to any location in the city. The service could be ordered by the telephone; Luckett's phone number was 81 [source: "Wm. B. Luckett," Frankfort Roundabout, 06/04/1887, p.4]. Luckett had purchased a 12 passenger bus with an attachable seat on the top, and he officially opened his business on May 30, 1887, according to his ad on p.7 of the Frankfort Roundabout, 06/04/1887. His prices ranged from 25 cents for 1 passenger with a valise or satchel, to 60 cents for 2 passengers with 2 trunks. The fare for children between the ages of 5 and 9 was 5 cents. If there were several children, "the rates will be reasonable." Customers could leave their orders at his Telephone 81, or at the Telephone Exchange, Holmes and Halloran's Drug Store, Blue Wing Office, and A. H. Waggoner's Grocery Store on Broadway. The transfer line business seemed like a good idea, but it did not generate a profit for Luckett. On June 25, 1887, there was a notice on p.3 of the Frankfort Roundabout, "W. B. Luckett proposes to run his omnibus as a street car from some point on the North Side to the extreme end of South Frankfort in the middle of the day and in the evening to accommodate persons living on the South Side going to and from their meals." On July 4, 1887, there was another notice on p.7 of the Frankfort Roundabout encouraging that his business should be patronized or the transfer line may not continue. The ad on the same page had all the previously mentioned locations for placing orders, plus the additional location of the LeCompte and Carpenter's South Side Drug Store. By the end of August 1887, there were no more ads for the transfer line business. The city of Frankfort still desired to have a street car line. But, in 1891, the mayor's veto was sustained at the city council meeting, the ordinance would have allowed the Capital Railway Company to construct the first street railroad [source: "We must continue to walk," Frankfort Roundabout, 07/25/1891, p.4]. Without the transfer line business, William B. Luckett developed his livery business located on Ann Street. In 1899, when he was preparing to move out of state, Luckett put the livery business up for sale or lease. Ads was posted in the newspaper. William B. Luckett is described as a mulatto in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census. He was born in Franklin County, KY, the son of Cordelia Duff Hayden. He was the husband of Katherine A. Taylor Luckett (1857-1936), they married in 1882 and the couple had at least six children [source: 1900 U.S. Federal Census]. In 1900, the family lived in Dayton, OH, according to the census, and William B. Luckett was an insurance agent. The family was noted as Black in the census, they lived on Hershey Street. They next moved to Yellowstone, Montana, and Luckett was a farmer. The family was listed as white in the 1910 Census and the 1920 Census. William B. Luckett died October 30, 1922 in Big Horn, Montana.

*Omnibus is a public vehicle designed to carry a large number of people.

See photo image of an 1890s horse drawn omnibus, in the Encyclopedia of Chicago online.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration West, Bus Transportation: Employees, Owners, Segregation
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Dayton, Ohio / Yellowstone and Big Horn, Montana

Mack, Mary Bell
Birth Year : 1872
Death Year : 1945
Bishop Mary Bell Mack was the founder of the Spiritualist Church of the Soul. She was a bishop as early as 1926 [source: "St. Mark's Church of the Soul," Youngstown Vindicator, 02/20/1926, p. 21]. She had a number of churches under her jurisdiction, including the Cincinnati Spiritualist Church in Ohio; St. Paul's Spiritualist Church in Newport, KY; and St. Matthew's Spiritualist Church in Lexington, KY. In the book, George Russell: the story of an American composer, by D. Heining, Bishop Mary Mack is described as being very wealthy with mansions and a chauffeur. Rev. Mary Mack is listed in William's Cincinnati (Hamilton County, Ohio) City Directory in the 1930s and 1940s. The following comes from the article, "News of Local Colored Folks," Youngstown Vindicator, 08/11/1943, p. 11: "Large crowds are attending the services in the Thornhill School, Wardle Ave. each evening when Bishop Mary Mack of Cincinnati leader of the Spiritual Churches of the Soul preaches. Divine healing services follow each service." In addition to being a bishop, Mary Mack owned a confectionery and a grocery store. Mary Bell Mack was born in Nicholasville, KY, the daughter of Lovis and Wallace Bell. The family of five is listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. Mary Bell married Ross Mack in 1892, they had two children. Ross Mack was also from Kentucky. The couple is listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census: Mary Mack was a cook and Ross Mack was a barkeeper. Mary Mack moved to Cincinnati in 1903, where she lived on Richmond Street with her mother, daughter, sister, and a lodger [source: 1910 U.S. Federal Census]. Bishop Mary Mack died in Cincinnati on December 7, 1945 [source: Ohio Deaths], and the birth date of 1883, inscribed on her tombstone, is incorrect.  While her birth year is inconsistent in the census records, Mary Bell Mack is listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census as a 6 year old; therefore, her birth year was prior to 1883. For more see Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, by W. P. Dabney.

 

 
Subjects: Businesses, Migration North, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Magowan, James E.
Birth Year : 1870
Death Year : 1933
The following information comes from the James E. Magowan archival file at the Montgomery County Historical Society and Museum in Mt. Sterling, KY. James E. Magowan was a successful businessman and a community leader. He was born in Montgomery County, the son of Amanda and John Wesley Magowan, and a brother of John, Noah, Susan, and Emily Magowan. The family lived in Smithville, KY. James Magowan, his brothers, and sister, Susan, all attended the Academy at Berea. As an adult, James Magowan was a real estate agent, loans and collecting agent, notary public, carpenter, contractor, and owner of the Magowan Theater and the colored skating rink in Mt. Sterling. James Magowan developed the Lincoln View Cemetery next to Olive Hill Cemetery in Smithville. The Lincoln View Cemetery opened on April 1, 1929, with James Magowan as president, his son, Jesse E., 1st vice president, and his wife, Lizzie, his daughter, Sarah, and his son-in-law and daughter, Watson D. Banks and Estella Magowan Banks, board members. James Magowan established a subdivision for African Americans next to the cemetery, and he owned and managed the waterline to the homes, charging a monthly fee for the service. He established the Mt. Sterling Colored Fair Association in 1909. He was owner of the James E. Magowan Grocery Store, which was located within the J. E. Magowan Hall (built in 1914) at the corner of East Locust and Fox Streets. James Magowan leased-out the grocery store and other space within the building. Additional information about James E. Magowan comes from "Achievements of the late James E. Magowan" on pp. 23-24 in Montgomery County Kentucky Bicentennial, 1774-1974, by S. A. Harris. James E. Magowan was a school teacher for six years. He led the effort to extend the gas line into Smithville, and in 1915 he was president of the organization that had a sidewalk completed from the city limits of Mt. Sterling to the entrance of Olive Hill Cemetery. James Avenue in Mt. Sterling was named in his honor. James E. Magowan is buried in the Lincoln View Cemetery in Mt. Sterling, KY.
Subjects: Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Businesses, Civic Leaders, Communities, Construction, Contractors, Builders, Education and Educators, Colored Fairs & Black Expos, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Carpenters, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Notary Public, Skating Rinks, Theater: Companies, Education, Exhibitions, Performers, and Performances in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Mount Sterling and Smithville, Montgomery County, Kentucky

Malone, Claudine B.
Birth Year : 1936
Claudine B. Malone, born in Louisville, KY, is a graduate of Wellesly College and Harvard Business School. Since 1984, she has been president and chief executive officer of Financial and Management Consulting, Inc. in McLean, Virginia. Malone has been a business professor at Harvard, Georgetown University, and the University of Virginia. She is on the board of directors of a number of corporations, including Hasbro, Inc., a post she held 1992-1999 and again since 2001. In 2003, Malone was named to the Norvell Board of Directors. For more see Claudine B Malone Profile at Forbes.com; Norvell names Claudine B. Malone and Kathy Brittain White to Board of Directors, a 12/01/2003 press release at the Norvell website; Who's Who Among African Americans, 1985-2006.

See photo image of Claudine B. Malone (middle of the page) at Kellogg School of Management website.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Migration East
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / McLean, Virginia

Malone, Robert E.
Birth Year : 1888
Death Year : 1944
Born in Louisville, KY, Malone was the last superintendent of the Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal School at Pine Bluff, Arkansas [now University of Arkansas Pine Bluff], 1922-1928. Following Malone's tenure, the head of the school was referred to as the president. Malone was also president of the Southwestern Life Insurance Company in Pine Bluff. He was author of A Study of 520 Rural Negro Homes in North Carolina, published by the North Carolina State Board of Vocational Education. Robert E. Malone was the son of Cora and Edward Malone. In 1900 the family lived on Nineteenth Street in Louisville, KY, and in 1910 they lived on West Magazine Street, according to the U.S. Federal Census, Edward Malone was a porter at the Post Office and his son Robert was a school teacher. Robert E. Malone was the husband of Mattie H. Malone (1891-1931), born in Virginia. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan.
Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Education and Educators
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Pine Bluff, Arkansas / North Carolina

Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company
Start Year : 1915
End Year : 1992
A Louisville-based company, Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company was Kentucky's largest African American-owned business, with offices in Lexington and other cities. It was the 80th largest insurance company owned by African Americans in the United States. The main office was located in the 600 block on Walnut Street. The company founders were B. O. Wilkerson, Rochelle I. Smith, William H. Wright, and Henry E. Hall. The company had as many as 750 employees and assets of 30 million dollars. Policies were sold in eight states. In 1992, the company merged with Atlanta Life and the Kentucky offices were closed. For a more detailed history see the "Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company" entry in The Encyclopedia of Louisville by J. E. Kleber; Mammoth Life reference files at the University of Louisville Archives and Records Center; and J. Jordan, "A Mammoth achievement," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/16/04. See the NKAA entry for Henry E. Hall for additional information.

  See the photo images of the personnel at the Lexington Office of the Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company, 149 Deweese Street, at Kentucky Digital Library.  There are additional photo images with the search "Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company" in the Kentucky Digital Library.
 
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Marble, Harriett Beecher Stowe
Birth Year : 1885
Death Year : 1966
Marble was the first African American woman pharmacist in Lexington, KY. She was born in Yazoo City, MS, the daughter of Solomon [or Saul] and Leah Ann Molette Marble. Harriett came to Lexington, KY, in 1921. Her pharmacy was located at 118 North Broadway, along with doctors' offices and an apartment on the third floor where Marble lived. Marble owned the building, which she had had renovated; the previous owners were Henry Ross and Jacob Speer, who owned the building when it had contained the People's Pharmacy, which opened in 1910. Today there is a KY Historical Marker at the building site. Several of Marble's family members also resided in Lexington: her sister Priscilla Marble Ford (1886-1924) died in Lexington, and her sister Lillie Marble Ray (b. 1883) owned a home at 170 Old Georgetown Street. Lillie deeded the home to Harriett in 1953. Harriett Marble was a graduate of Meharry Medical College. She made the top score on the test administered by the Mississippi State Board of Examiners in 1908 when she qualified for her pharmacy license. She was a pharmacist in Mississippi, Oklahoma, and at Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute [now Tuskegee University] in Alabama, prior to coming to Kentucky. Marble and several family members are buried in the Cove Haven Cemetery in Lexington. This entry was submitted by Yvonne Giles. For more see M. Davis, "First female black pharmacist no longer forgotten," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/08/2009; and the Harriett Beecher Stowe Marble entry in Who's Who of the Colored Race 1915.
Subjects: Businesses, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Pharmacists, Pharmacies
Geographic Region: Yazoo City, Mississippi / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Martin Brothers
James I. Martin, born in 1879 in Glasgow, KY, and Jesse H. Martin, born in 1890 in Indianapolis, Indiana, began manufacturing clothes in 1909 in Indianapolis. Jesse was a salesman and vice president of Martin Brothers Duck Clothes Manufacturers. Their brother, Samuel Martin, born in 1886 in Indianapolis, was treasurer. Their company produced heavy cotton clothes, khaki, and uniforms. Martin Manufacturers was incorporated in 1922. The Martin brothers were the sons of Samuel and Eliza F. Davidson Martin. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1941-44; and "African American Businesses" in The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis by D. J. Bodenhamer et al.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration North
Geographic Region: Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana

Martin, Cornelius
Birth Year : 1949
Death Year : 2006
Cornelius Martin was born in Greenville, KY. In April 1985, he purchased a Bowling Green Oldsmobile/Cadillac dealership. By 1997 he owned an Oldsmobile/Cadillac dealership, a Dodge/Jeep/Eagle dealership, a Chevrolet/Geo dealership and four Saturn dealerships, totaling seven stores in four states. Today Martin Management is the second-largest African American dealership group in the U.S. and annually sells more than 10,500 new Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Hummer, Jeep, Kia, Lincoln-Mercury, Oldsmobile, Saab, and Saturn vehicles at dealerships in Arizona, California, Iowa, Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia. The company also sells more than 6,800 used cars each year and runs a Harley-Davidson dealership in Kentucky. Co-Mar Aviation provides aircraft service, hangaring, and fueling. For more see Hayes, C., "Selling into the stratosphere: B. E. auto dealer of the year - Cornelius Martin and his four Saturn dealerships, Martin Automotive Group - 25th Anniversary of the B.E. 100s - Cover Story," Black Enterprise, June 1997; and R. Minor, "A community loss, Martin, Mitchell killed, Leachman injured in accident," Daily News (Bowling Green, KY), 06/03/2006.
Subjects: Automobile Dealerships and Factories, Businesses
Geographic Region: Greenville, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky / Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky

Martin, Sara [Dunn]
Birth Year : 1884
Death Year : 1955
Born Sara Dunn in Louisville, KY, she began singing in church. At the age of 16 she was married and widowed. Sara took her second husband's last name, Martin. She began as a vaudeville singer in 1915 and later became the highest paid blues singer of the 1920s. She lived for a while in Chicago, then moved to New York. Martin sang with the W. C. Handy Band, sometimes billed as "Moanin' Mama" and sometimes performing under other names. Her first recording was Sugar Blues. She appeared on film with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and in 1930 appeared in the first all African American sound films, Darktown Scandals Revue [produced with The Exile]. Martin returned to Kentucky where she was a gospel singer; she also operated a nursing home in Louisville. For more see All Music Guide to the Blues. The experts' guide to the best blues recordings, ed. by M. Erlewine, et al.; The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 3rd ed., edited by C. Larkin; and Classic Jazz, by S. Yanow. View image and listen to Sara Martin & Her Jug Band - I'm Gonna Be a Lovin' Old Soul on YouTube.

Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Businesses, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Migration South, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / New York

Mason, Jesse Edward
Birth Year : 1919
Death Year : 2002
Born in Nicholasville, KY, Mason attended Kentucky State University and was a World War II veteran. He was the first African American licensed to sell used cars in Kentucky, operating his own business for 32 years. In 1965, Mason also organized the first American Little League Baseball Club, the Slugger Dodgers of Jessamine County. That same year, Mason was a leader in the integration of the Jessamine County public schools. In the 1990s, he led the movement to have the newly built middle school named Rosenwald-Dunbar, in honor of the African American high school that had closed following integration. For more see "February is Black History Month," The Jessamine Journal, 02/23/2006, pp. A1 & A8.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Automobile Dealerships and Factories, Baseball, Businesses, Civic Leaders, Military & Veterans, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky

Masterson, E. I.
E. I. Masterson was a merchant-tailor in Louisville, KY, having learned his trade at Tuskegee Institute [now Tuskegee University]. He was the leading African American tailor in the city; Masterson had an expensive line of clothing that appealed to whites. For more see Life Behind a Veil: Blacks in Louisville, Kentucky, 1865-1930, by G. C. Wright, p. 95; and Evidences of Progress Among Colored People, by G. F. Richings, available on the UNC Library's Documenting the American South website, with a photo on page 309; and C. L. Masterson, "Merchant tailoring," Records of the National Negro Business League, Part 1 Annual Conference Proceedings and Organizational Records, 1900-1919, 5th Annual Convention, Indianapolis, IN, August 31 - September 2, 1904, reel 1, frames 412-413.

See photo image of E. I. Masterson on p.309 in Evidences of Progress Among Colored People by G. F. Richings.
Subjects: Businesses
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

McCoy, George and Mildred
George and his wife, Mildred Goins McCoy, were escaped slaves from Louisville, KY. They settled first in Canada, then in 1852 moved with their 12 children to Ypsilanti, Michigan, six miles east of Ann Arbor and 29 miles west of Detroit. Ypsilanti was a significant link in the Underground Railroad and a major stop for slaves fleeing from Kentucky en route to Detroit and Canada. George was a conductor who aided many of the escapees by hiding them under the boxes of cigars that he delivered to Detroit. As George's cigar business thrived, more slaves were carried to freedom, so many that a second wagon was purchased and driven by his son, William McCoy. George and Mildred McCoy are the parents of inventor Elijah McCoy. For more see M. Chandler, "Ypsilanti's rich in Black history," Detroit Free Press, 02/09/1984, p. 7A.
Subjects: Businesses, Fathers, Freedom, Migration North, Mothers, Underground Railroad: Conductors, Escapes, Organizations, Research
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Ypsilanti, Michigan / Canada

McDowell, Cyrus R.
Birth Year : 1854
Cyrus R. McDowell, a minister and businessman, was born in Bowling Green, KY. He founded (in 1887) and was editor of (beginning in 1889) the Bowling Green Watchman. He was a co-founder of the Bowling Green Academy and also organized the Green River Valley Baptist Association. His birth year is given as 1854 in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, at the time he, his wife Mary (b.1864 in MS), and their children were living on East White Oak Street in Independence, MO. Mary McDowell had temporarily opened the Baptist College in Independence, MO. The college had originally opened in January of 1890 in Independence, MO, and was to be moved to a permanent location in Macon City, MO, prior to the opening of the third term. But the property had not been secured in time and Mary McDowell reopened the school in Independence until it was moved on January 4, 1891 [source: "The Baptist College at Macon City, Mo.," The Baptist Home Mission Monthly, v.15, 1893, pp.273-274]. Rev. C. R. McDowell was pastor of the Second Baptist Church in Independence, MO [source: "Independence, MO., items," Iowa State Bystander, 05/18/1900, p.4]. In 1901, Rev. McDowell was head of the Pilgrim Baptist Church in St. Louis, MO, [source: Gould's St. Louis Directory for 1901, p.1225]. Two years later, he was manager of the Hon Co-operative Trading Company in Hannibal, MO [source: R. E. Hackman & Co.'s Hannibal City Directory, 1903, p.239]. Around 1925, Rev. McDowell was editor of the Baptist Record, published by the Baptist Record Publishing Company, and he was editor of The Searchlight Publications [source: "Rev. C. R. McDowell...," Plaindealer (Topeka, Kansas), 05/15/1925, p.2]. He was president of the [Baptist] Record Publishing Company in 1927 [source: 1927 Polk's Kansas City Missouri City Directory, p.1251], while also serving as pastor of Helping Hand Baptist Church [source: Polk's Hannibal Missouri City Directory, 1927, p.196]. The following year, Rev. McDowell was president of Home Protective Investment Company [source: Polk's Kansas City Missouri City Directory, p.1269]. For several years, Rev. McDowell had been a member of the fraternal organization Home Protective Association and he was Chief Regent in 1906 [source: "The Home Protective Association," St. Louis Palladium, 10/13/1906, p.4]. In the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Rev. Cyrus McDowell was still an active minister, he was a widower, and he lived with his daughter-in-law, Lida McDowell on Center Street in Hannibal City, MO. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration West, Religion & Church Work, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Independence, Saint Louis, Kansas City & Hannibal, Missouri

McFarland, Richard L., Sr. "R.L."
Birth Year : 1917
Death Year : 2002
Richard L. McFarland, Sr. was born in Owensboro, KY. He was valedictorian of his 1935 graduating class at Western High School in Owensboro. McFarland was the first African American to be elected to the Owensboro City Commission, in 1985, and he served six terms. He was pastor of the Mt. Calvary Baptist Church for 46 years, and he and his wife owned McFarland Funeral Home. In 1975, Rev. McFarland was among the group of ministers who traveled to Monrovia, Liberia, Africa where they baptized more than 800 persons [source: 2012 Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, p.15]. In 1992, the Owensboro Human Relations Commission created the Rev. R. L. McFarland Leadership Award in his honor. In 1998, a tree and a plaque were placed in the Owensboro English Park to honor Rev. McFarland. For more see R. L. McFarland within the article "Middlesboro city councilwoman top vote-getter," in 1988 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Seventh Report, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, p. 28; J. Campbell, "Williams' bid opened door for black leaders, he earned a spot on fall ballot," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 10/28/05, p. 19; and K. Lawrence, "McFarland, former mayor pro tem dies at 85 minister opened door for Black politicians," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 09/14/2002, p. 1.

Access Interview Read about the Richard L. McFarland oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Businesses, Kentucky African American Churches, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Religion & Church Work, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky

McWorter, Free Frank
Birth Year : 1777
Death Year : 1854
Born in South Carolina, Free Frank McWorter was the son of a slave named Juda and her owner, George McWhorter. Frank and McWhorter settled in Pulaski County, KY, in 1795. Frank worked McWhorter's farm and was allowed to establish his own saltpeter business. He earned enough money to purchase a farm, his wife's freedom, his freedom, and that of an older son. Once free, Frank took the name Free Frank. In 1830, he and the free members of his family moved to Pike County, Illinois, where he accumulated land. Frank eventually established the town of New Philadelphia, continuing to purchase the freedom of his children and grandchildren still in Pulaski County, KY. While in Illinois, Frank officially changed his name to Frank McWorter [without the 'h']. Three years after his death, portions of the New Philadelphia property were sold to purchase the freedom of the remaining family members in Kentucky. For more see Free Frank; a black pioneer on the Antebellum frontier, by J. E. K. Walker.

See bust and additional information about Free Frank McWorter at the United Black America website.
Subjects: Businesses, Early Settlers, Freedom, Migration North
Geographic Region: South Carolina / Pulaski County, Kentucky / Pike County, Illinois / New Philadelphia, Illinois

Meeks, Michael L.
Birth Year : 1958
Born in Louisville, KY, Meeks is a brother of Reginald Meeks, Renelda (Meeks) Walker Higgins, and Kenneth Meeks. In 2008 he was elected to the Kentucky Democratic Party State Central Executive Committee. He is founder and president of Frankfort Lobbyist, LLC, formed in 2008, and owner of Special Event Coordinators, LLC, established in 2000. Meeks served as Committee Staff Administrator of the Government Contract Review Committee of the Legislative Research Commission from 1996 to 2006 and served as Legislative Analyst for the Occupations and Professions Committee from 1985 to 1996. Meeks earned his B.A. at Morehead State University in 1980 and his J.D. at Howard University School of Law in 1983. He was selected Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Big Brother of the Year in 1990; Outstanding Young Men of America, 1981-1985; Outstanding Kentucky Young Democrat of the Year in 1979; Who's Who Among American College Students in 1978-1980; and elected State Secretary of the Kentucky Young Democrats in 1978. He is the son of Eloise Kline Meeks and Florian Meeks, Jr. For more see the 2007 Inaugural Edition of Who’s Who in Black Louisville and subsequent issues in 2008 and 2009.
Subjects: Businesses, Lawyers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Minnifield, Frank
Birth Year : 1960
Frank Minnifield was born in Lexington, KY. At 5'9" and 140 pounds, he was an outstanding high school football player at Henry Clay High School in Lexington, playing tailback and safety; the team made the playoffs his senior year. It was thought that he was too small to play college football; nonetheless, Minnifield, 40 pounds heavier, was a walk-on his first year with the University of Louisville (KY) football team in 1979, earning scholarships his three remaining years. In 1981, he led the team in punt returns and led the nation as the number one college kick returner with 30.4 yards per return. Minnifield began his pro career in 1982 playing for the Chicago Blitz, a U.S. Football League (USFL) team that would become the Arizona Wranglers. The team was runner-up in the USFL Championship game in 1984. That same year, Minnifield filed suit against the Arizona Wranglers over the Wranglers' attempt to prevent him from playing with the Cleveland Browns, a National Football League (NFL) team. Minnifield signed as a free agent with the Browns in 1984 and retired from the team in 1992. He played in 122 games and was a four time pro bowler (1986-1989) and three time All-NFL choice by the Associated Press. Minnifield was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998. After retiring from the NFL, he took advantage of years of preparation: having earned a real estate license in 1988 and sold real estate during the off-season, Minnifield returned to Lexington and established Minnifield All-Pro Homes. In 1993, he became the first African American executive elected to the Lexington Chamber of Commerce Board. He was the only African American home builder in Lexington in 2000. In 2011, Frank Minnifield was named chair of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees. For more see Frank Minnifield on the University of Louisville football website; J. Clay, "Minni, Lexington's Frank Minnifield, knew he'd make it as a pro," Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/18/1984; and J. George, "Building for the future ex-NFL star Frank Minnifield wants more blacks in industry," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/12/2000.

See photo image and additional information about Frank Minnifield in article "Frank Minnifield elected chairman of U of L trustees," 09/14/2011, at Kentucky.com [Lexington Herald-Leader].
Subjects: Businesses, Football, Migration North, Migration West, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Arizona / Cleveland, Ohio

Moore, J. W.
Born in Louisville, KY, Moore was owner of a large grocery store and several houses in Paducah, KY. He was at one time a clerk in the Mileage Department of C. & O. & S. W. R. R. He was also a letter-carrier in Paducah; he may have been one of the first African American mail carriers in the city (prior to 1900). For more see Evidences of Progress Among Colored People, by G. F. Richings, p. 512, [online at the UNC Documenting the American South website].
Subjects: Businesses, Postal Service
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Morgan, Garrett A., Sr.
Birth Year : 1877
Death Year : 1963
Garrett A. Morgan, who was born in Paris, KY, patented the breathing device - a gas mask - and the traffic signal. He owned sewing equipment and repair shop, and a personal care products company. Morgan invented zig-zag stitching for manual sewing machines. Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr. was the son of Sydney and Elizabeth Reed Morgan; he was the seventh of their eleven children. The children attended Branch School, located in the African American community of Claysville, later renamed Garrett Morgan's Place. Morgan quit school when he was in the fifth grade, and when he was a teen took a job in Cincinnati, OH. He would later move on to Cleveland, where he founded the Cleveland Association of Colored Men, which was later merged into the Cleveland Branch of the NAACP. Morgan also founded the Cleveland Call newspaper. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; Created Equal, by J. M. Brodie; and Garrett A. Morgan in the Hutchinson Encyclopedia of Biography (2000).

See photo image and additional information on Garrett A. Morgan in Public Roads, Jan/Feb 1998, vol.62, no.4, a Federal Highway Administration website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Inventors, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Cincinnati and Cleveland, Ohio

The Morris Family
Shelton Morris (1806-1889), his five siblings, and their mother, Fanny, were freed by their owner (and father of the children), Col. Richard Morris of Ohio. Shelton moved to Louisville, KY, where he purchased land and opened a barbering business and bathhouse. His younger brothers, John and Alexander, were also barbers; they joined Shelton in Louisville. Shelton married Evelina Spradling, sister of Washington Spradling, Sr., who was also a barber. In 1840 Shelton was accused of voting in the presidential election; African Americans were not allowed to vote in Kentucky until 1870 (with the passing of the 15th Amendment). Voting rights for free African Americans had been revoked in 1799 in Kentucky's second Constitution. After the voting incident and the death of his wife, Shelton moved to Cincinnati, where his sister Elizabeth lived. For more see The Saga of the Morris Family, by R. M. Graham.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Voting Rights
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Murphy, Walter
Birth Year : 1922
Death Year : 2000
Born in Waddy, KY, Walter Murphy began training horses when he was a boy working alongside his father at Mountjoy Stables in Lawrenceburg, KY. Murphy struck out on his own when he was 16 years old, embarking on a great training career that included about 50 world champion horses, according to his son, trainer Bobby Murphy of Murphy Stables in Urbana, Ohio. Bobby and his father opened Murphy Stables in the 1970s. In 1992, Walter Murphy was the first and only African American inducted into the American Saddlebred Association Hall of Fame in Louisville, KY, only one of the many awards he received. A memorial scholarship in his name has been established at Urbana University. Information submitted by Paula Murphy, native of Lawrenceburg, KY. For more see B. Parcels, "Love of horses passed down through family," Urbana Daily Citizen, Weekender, 03/03/2001, p. A-3; the Murphy Family, a Black Horsemen website; and T. Doll, "Bobby Murphy, reflecting on the family's history [pdf]," Saddle Horse Report, 09/17/2007, pp. 38-41 [article available full-text at Black Horsemen website].


Subjects: Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Waddy, Shelby County, Kentucky / Lawrenceburg, Anderson County, Kentucky / Urbana, Ohio

National Colored Teachers' Agency, Louisville, KY
Start Year : 1928
At the end of the 19th Century, teacher employment agencies developed in the United States, and in 1914, the National Association of Teachers' Agencies (NATA) was formed by the National Education Association (NEA), which was segregated. The NATA members were school-related agencies only; membership was not open to commercial teachers' employment agencies. All of the agencies had the dual role of finding employment for educators and directing employers to the best educators. African American teachers belonged to the National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools (NATCS), founded in 1904. Predating NATCS was the development of the commercial colored teachers' employment agencies in the late 1800s. The agencies flourished around 1915 when numerous agency ads could be found in issues of the Crisis. Around 1930, the number of ads and agencies was greatly reduced with the onset of the Great Depression. In June of 1930, Marion C. Davis sent a letter to the Crisis inquiring as to where she might find a colored teachers' agency or bureau; it had been a while since there were agency ads in the Crisis [read digital image of letter online]. The colored teachers' employment agencies were independent of one another and had slight name variations, such as the Interstate Colored Teachers' Agency in Richmond, VA; the Southern Colored Teachers' Agency located in Dallas, formerly the Texas Colored Teachers' Agency; the Colored Teachers' Agency in Washington, D.C., one of the oldest agencies; and the Colored Teachers' Agency in Alabama. In 1928, the National Colored Teachers' Agency in Louisville, KY, was located at 632 W. Walnut Street. This particular agency was a division of the National Teachers' Agency in Louisville. Jesse B. Colbert (1861-1936) was the general manager of the colored division. Colbert placed ads in publications such as the Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association that read, "Now is the time to enroll for a position for the next school term. We secure positions for teachers in any state in the Union desired."-- [source: Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, issue 04/18-21/1928, p. 19]. Jesse B. Colbert was an agent for the colored division of the National Teachers' Agency while also an employee of the National Employment Bureau in Louisville [source: Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville]. The National Employment Bureau was a free employment service provided by the government. The National Colored Teachers' Agency was a business that charged fees. It is not known how long the National Colored Teachers' Agency existed in Louisville. See also the NKAA Database entry Colored Bureau of Education, an earlier teachers' employment agency in Frankfort, KY.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Employment Services
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Negro business directory and fair souvenir: a miniature list of trades, businesses and professions among the Negroes of Lexington, Kentucky
Start Year : 1899
[Lexington, Ky.] : Standard Printing Co., 1899. Housed in the University of Kentucky Special Collections Library Rare Books: call no. F459.L6 N4560 1899.
Subjects: Businesses, Colored Fairs & Black Expos
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Negro Business League (Kentucky)
Start Year : 1916
In 1916, the state of Kentucky did not have a state Negro Business League but did have thirteen chartered local leagues: Bowling Green (J. R. Vass, chair); Covington; Danville (John W. Bate[s], chair); Frankfort (T. K. Robb, chair); Owensboro (Dr. R. B. Bell); Paris (Dr. J. W. Mebane, chair); Lawrenceburg (J. K. Stovall, chair); Georgetown (Manlius Neal, chair); Hopkinsville (E. G. Lamb, chair); Lexington (Dr. W. H. Ballard, chair); Louisville (W. H. Stewart, chair); Winchester (Rev. H. D. Coleaire, chair); and Madisonville (P. R. Cabell, Jr., chair). For more see Negro Year Book: An Annual Encyclopedia of the Negro, 1916-1917 [full view available via Google Book Search].
Subjects: Businesses, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Kentucky: Bowling Green, Warren County / Covington, Kenton County / Danville, Boyle County / Frankfort, Franklin County / Owensboro, Daviess County / Paris, Bourbon County / Lawrenceburg, Anderson County

Negro Businesses (Lexington, KY)
Start Year : 1901
In 1901, the following Lexington, KY, businesses were included in Dr. L. D. Robinson's report at the 2nd Annual Convention of the National Negro Business League in Chicago: [barbers] Benjamin Franklin, A. L. Hawkins, Anderson & Suter, A.B. Fletcher, Frank Buckner, Howard Miller; [grocery stores] John T. Clay & Sons, and A. W. Taylor; [baker and confectioner] Charles H. Allen; [cafes] Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Thompson, Walker & Roberts, Ladies Exchange, Richard Williams and Green Miller, and R. H. Gray, who owned several patents, a cafe, and an ice cream and soda parlor. For more see Dr. L. D. Robinson, "Negro Business Enterprise of Lexington, Kentucky," Records of the National Negro Business League, Part 1 Annual Conference Proceedings and Organizational Records, 1900-1919, 2nd Annual Convention, August 21-23, 1901, reel 1, frames 221-222.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Negro Hotels in Kentucky
Start Year : 1942
In preparation for the publication of the first Negro Handbook, compiled and edited by Florence Murray, there was a survey of Negro-owned and -operated hotels in the United States. Approximately 400 hotels were identified, including 10 in Kentucky, including the Preston Hotel in Glasgow Junction [a junction between the L&N Railroad mainline and a branch to Glasgow and a branch to Mammoth Cave]; in 1938, the name Glasgow Junction was changed to Park City. Louisville had several hotels, as well: the Allen Hotel at 2516 W. Madison Street; Knights of Pythias Temple Hotel at 10th and Chestnut Streets; and Walnut Hotel at 615 Walnut Street. The Brantsford Hotel [see Bransfords] was located at Mammoth Cave. In Mt. Sterling, the Dew Drop Inn stood on E. Locust Street. There were four hotels in Paducah: the Burlington Hotel at 48 Kentucky Avenue; the Jefferson Hotel at 514 S. 8th Street; the Washington Hotel at 805 Washington Street; and the city's oldest African American hotel, the Metropolitan, owned by Maggie Steed. For more see "Facts Concerning Hotels" in The Negro Handbook (1942), by F. Murray.
Subjects: Businesses, Bed & Breakfast, Hotels, Inns
Geographic Region: Glasgow Junction [now Park City], Barren County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Mammoth Cave National Park, Edmonson County, Kentucky / Mount Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Nelson, James
James Nelson was born a slave in Kentucky and he was a blacksmith. As a freeman, Nelson moved to Springfield, Ohio, where he maintained a successful business manufacturing IXL and Whiteley plows, wagons, and carts. His business catered to customers throughout the United States. Both Nelson and William Dixon are mentioned in the title The Sage of Tawawa as being "owners and operators of prosperous blacksmith shops" in Springfield [p. 33]. James Nelson's company is mentioned on p.274 of William's Springfield City Directory for 1890-91, the business was located at the corner of Main and Jackson, and Nelson lived at 12 N. Light Street. By 1893, the business name had changed to James Nelson and Sons, according to the city directory. For more see Evidences of Progress Among Colored People, by G. F. Richings [available full view at Google Book Search]; and full text at UNC Documenting the American South website.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration North, Blacksmiths
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Springfield, Ohio

Olden, Clarence E.
Birth Year : 1904
Death Year : 1981
Clarence E. Olden, from Paducah, KY, was a trumpet player and band leader. He also played the saxophone. He left Kentucky for New York in the early 1930s, and opened at the Apollo Theater around Christmas Day of 1934. In 1940, Clarence and his wife Iva (1905-1991) were lodgers at the home of Mildred Harris on Lexington Avenue in Columbus, OH, and both were listed as musicians [source: U.S. Federal Census]. Clarence Olden was head of the band known as Clarence Olden and His Dixie Rhythm Boys. Kentucky trumpeter Jonah Jones was once a member of the Clarence Olden Band. The band name was later changed to the Clarence Olden Orchestra. During WWII, Clarence Olden worked at the Curtiss-Wright Aircraft Plant in Columbus, OH, and due to financial constraints, he merged his band with Earl Hood and His Orchestra. Olden took over the Hood Orchestra in 1951. In 1957, Olden gave up his job at the plant and quit playing music, he bought a grocery store. In 1964, his wife, Iva Olden, was shot at the store during a robbery [source: "Clerk shot," The Times Recorder (Zanesville), 07/01/1964, p.1]. Clarence Olden was the son of Onine Olden Danner, according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, and he was the stepson of Artis Danner who died in 1940 according to Kentucky Death Certificate, State File #5020. {The spelling of the name "Onine" was taken from her signature on the death certificate of Artis Danner.} For more see Columbus: the musical crossroads by D. Meyers et. al.; and Clarence Olden, trumpeter, saxophonist, bandleader, April 1, 2012, by A. Howard, a Columbus Bicentennial blog.

See photo image of Clarence Olden at the Columbus Metropolitan Library website.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / New York / Columbus, Ohio

Oliver Scott's Refined Negro Minstrels
Start Year : 1890
End Year : 1904
The company had previously been the A. G. Field's Colored Minstrels; Oliver Scott purchased the company in the 1890s. The company did not originate in Kentucky but disbanded in Middlesboro, KY, in 1904. "While the show was in progress, the manager caught the 9:30 train and left town, owing 22 people two weeks' salary." For more see The Ghost Walks: a chronological history of blacks in show business, 1865-1910, by H. T. Sampson. View a theatrical poster of Oliver Scott's Refined Negro Minstrels at the Library of Congress (image may be enlarged).


Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Businesses, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Railroad, Railway, Trains, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers, Theater: Companies, Education, Exhibitions, Performers, and Performances in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Middlesboro, Bell County, Kentucky

Paris, William H., Jr. "Bubba"
Birth Year : 1960
William H. Paris,Jr. was born in Louisville, KY, and played football at DeSales High School, where he was team captain and an MVP. At 6'6", 300 pounds, Paris went on to play offensive tackle at the University of Michigan, where he was All-Big Ten, All-American, and All-Academic. He was taken in the second round of the NFL draft and played all but one season of his professional career with the San Francisco 49ers, 1983-1990. In 1991, Paris played for the Indianapolis Colts. During his time with the 49ers, the team won three Super Bowls. He is the father of the former University of Oklahoma basketball players Courtney and Ashley Paris. Bubba Paris, an ordained minister and motivational speaker, lives in California. For more see Bubba Paris, at databaseFootball.com; bubbaparis.org; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1992-2006.

See photo image of William "Bubba" Paris at the University of Michigan Library website.
Subjects: Businesses, Fathers, Football, Migration West, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / California

Parker, William C.
Birth Year : 1925
Death Year : 2008
William C. Parker, from Cairo, Illinois, was the Vice Chancellor of Minority Affairs at the University of Kentucky, from 1984-1990. His responsibilities included the recruitment and retention of minority students; he was also a diversity adviser to the university. He led the development of the Kentucky Association of Blacks in Higher Education. Dr. Parker, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, had taught at a number of schools and had been employed at the Educational Testing Service (ETS) before coming to Kentucky. After his retirement, he established Parker & Parker, a human resources consulting firm that worked with hundreds of schools throughout the United States. Dr. Parker was also an adjunct professor at the Bluegrass Community and Technical College. He was a professional speaker and had received many awards for his leadership. He wrote a number of articles, books and other publications such as the video, Formula for Success. Dr. Parker was a two-time graduate of Illinois State University and earned his Ph.D. at Columbia Pacific University. He was the son of Magdelene Reynolds Parker, a Cairo school teacher, and Clarence H. Parker. For more see "William C. Parker" in Pulaski County, Illinois, 1987, by the Pulaski County History Book Committee; and B. Musgrave, "Longtime educator dies," Lexington Herald Leader, 06/02/2008.

 

Access Interview Read about the William C. Parker oral history interviews available in the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records are in the SPOKE Database. 

 

  See photo image of William C. Parker at UKnowledge website.
Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Military & Veterans, Migration South
Geographic Region: Cairo, Illinois / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Porter, Jacob M.
Birth Year : 1848
Jacob M. Porter was one of the first African Americans to run for political office in Paris, KY [see NKAA entry Early African American Political Candidates, Bourbon County, KY]. With permission, the following entry comes from the unpublished letter written by Mrs. Rogers Bardé, titled "Porter Children." Mrs. Rogers Bardé is a researcher in Bourbon County, KY. 

 

"Jacob M. Porter was born in August 1848 (Census 1900). He married Josie M. Palmer in Bourbon County, Ky on 23 Mar 1871 (Colored Marriage Book, 1, page 56). In 1870 in Bourbon County, Ky he lived with his father and was listed as a grocer, along with his father and brother, Beverly. In the 1900 census he was listed as a bank clerk, and lived in Indianapolis, on California Street. He and his wife Josie had two children; William, born Nov 1873 and Edward, born Apr 1883. In 1900 he owned his own home, without a mortgage. He lived in the same house in 1910 and 1920 (listed in the moving business in both censuses); by 1930 Josie was a widow in the same house, living with their son, who by now was listed as Edgar, instead of Edward; Edgar was listed as single. In the 1930 census Josie was head of the house and a widow, and Carrie V. White was listed as her daughter and a widow. I found Carrie, born Dec 1871, married to Maurice White in the 1900 census in Indianapolis on Market Street, in Center Township. They had no children." 

 

Jacob M. Porter was the son of Jefferson Porter [see NKAA entries 1, 2, and 3 for more on Jefferson Porter].
Subjects: Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Businesses, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana

Porter, Jefferson
Birth Year : 1820
Death Year : 1885
Jefferson Porter had been a slave; he was described as a Mulatto in the U.S. Federal Census. He was born about 1820 in Kentucky and died in Bourbon County, KY, before October 12, 1885. Jefferson Porter was freed by Lucy Porter's will in 1846 in Bourbon County. The will specified that Jefferson Porter was to get a shop and a bakehouse and the ground on which they stood, located between her house and the house of Mrs. Sidney Shannon. He also received a lot adjoining Abram Spears' property, two carriages, a wagon, horses and gear, harness and other equipage, and all provender and grain. In return, Jefferson Porter was to pay all of Lucy Porter’s funeral expenses and help support her daughter, Polly Cook, and Polly's children until the children were old enough to support themselves. Not much is known about Lucy Porter; she could not be found as head of household in any previous U.S. Federal Census Records for Bourbon County. Looking at the early census and tax records, it is hard to determine exactly to whom Lucy Porter was married: the records only listed the head of household. No marriage record for Lucy Porter was found in the Bourbon County (KY) Courthouse. What is known is that she freed Jefferson Porter, and he operated a business, owned property, and built a house in a predominately white neighborhood. This was quite an accomplishment for an African American in the pre-Civil War era when the majority of African Americans in Bourbon County, KY, were slaves. According to the 1850 Slave Schedule of Bourbon County, there were approximately 245 free African Americans compared to 7,071 African American slaves. In the 1860 Census of Bourbon County, Jefferson Porter was listed as a confectioner who had $4000 in real estate and $3000 in personal estate. The value of Jefferson Porter's real and personal property are quite high compared to that of other free African Americans in Bourbon County. Charles S. Brent, a banker, and Abram Spears, a railroad agent, were neighbors of Jefferson Porter, and both are listed as white in the 1880 Census. Spears and Brent lived near Main Street in downtown Paris, KY. It is likely that at this time Jefferson Porter lived in the bakehouse or shop that was left to him in Lucy Porter’s will. On April 13, 1865, Jefferson Porter purchased a one and half acre lot from James and Bridget Fee. No house is mentioned in the deed; therefore, it is assumed that Jefferson Porter built the house at 317 West Seventh Street after the purchase of the property. A house is mentioned in later deeds. According to the 1870 Census of Bourbon County, the Jefferson Porter family was living in the 1st Ward of Paris. West Seventh Street was located in the 1st Ward, and the Porter family was probably living in the West Seventh Street house. No wife is listed in this census, and no marriage record for Jefferson Porter has been found for this time. In various census records a woman named Cynthia Harrison is living with Jefferson Porter. Cynthia Harrison's age varies so much in these records, however, that it is hard to determine if she could have been his wife or the mother of his children. In the 1850 Census of Bourbon County she is listed as 40 years old; by 1860 she is listed as being 35 years old. She does not appear in the 1870 Census, but in the 1880 census she is in the household with Jefferson Porter and listed as being 90 years old. It is believed that some of his children were living with Jefferson Porter in the 1870 Census, even though relationships are not given. Jefferson Porter is listed as a grocer living in the same household as Jacob Porter, a 23 year old male, Beverly Porter, a 28 year old male, Anna Porter, a 28 year old female, and Lucy Porter, a 25 year old female. The exact relationship of Cynthia Harrison to the Porter family cannot be determined at this time because she does not consistently appear with them in the records. The family was fairly well off; by 1870 Jefferson Porter had increased his real estate to $4000 and his personal estate to $5000. The 1877 Beers Atlas of Paris, Kentucky shows Jefferson Porter's house on West Seventh Street. In the 1880 Census, Jefferson Porter and Cynthia Harrison are listed as boarders in the household of Sallie Jones, a Mulatto, who was a widowed seamstress with two children. It cannot be determined if Jefferson Porter and the others are living at the West Seventh Street house. Jefferson Porter did not leave a will in Bourbon County, KY, however, it was court ordered that his estate be settled on October 12, 1885, in Bourbon County (KY) Court Order Book W, page 139. The Jefferson Porter family included heirs Beverly and Susie Porter, Jacob M. and Josie Porter, William and Eva Porter, Jefferson Jr., Georgia Porter, Adam and Lucy Smoot, Anna Scott, and Sallie Porter. The heirs sold the house and lot to J. M. and Annie E. Thomas and W. R. and Carrie Thomas for $1,660 on September 22, 1886. In the November 24, 2010 edition of the Bourbon County Citizen newspaper, the house of Jefferson Porter was described as a 3,000 square foot brick home with a grand staircase and six fireplaces. The house was on the St. Mary's School's Holiday Tour of Homes on December 5, 2010. The house is still standing today and is currently owned by Martin Marderosian.

SOURCES: Will of Lucy Porter, Bourbon County (KY), Will Book M: page 430, 1850, 1860, at the courthouse in Bourbon County, KY. The 1870 U.S. Federal Census of Bourbon County (KY); 1850 Slave Schedule of Bourbon County (KY). The Bourbon County (KY) Court Order Book W, page 139; Bourbon County, (KY) Deed Book 69, page 276; Bourbon County, (KY) Deed Book 53, page 223; all at the courthouse in Bourbon County, KY. The Bourbon County Citizen, Wednesday, November 24, 2010 edition. The 1877 Beers Atlas of Paris, Kentucky. Personal interview with Martin Marderosian, current owner of the home Jefferson Porter built at 317 West Seventh Street in Paris, Ky. Jefferson Porter is mentioned in Black Property Owners in the South, 1790-1915, by Loren Schweninger. This entry was submitted by Kellie Scott, Paris Bourbon County Public Library.

See 2nd and updated entry Jefferson Porter and Jefferson Porter (Chain of Title for 317 W. 7th Street), both are NKAA Database entries.

Subjects: Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Freedom
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Porter, Jefferson (2nd entry)
Birth Year : 1817
Death Year : 1885
This entry was researched, written and submitted by Nancy O’Malley, Assistant Director
William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology and
Office of State Archeology
1020A Export Street
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 40506
Ph. 859-257-1944
FAX: 859-323-1968

Jefferson Porter, (b.1817-20?-1885), was probably born in Paris or Bourbon County. He was a slave who was manumitted by Lucy Allentharpe Porter's will in 1846. [Researcher Rogers Barde found Lucy A. Porter's marriage record, she was married to James Porter in 1801. She was widowned by 1840 and there is a federal census record for her as head of household.] In addition to his freedom, Jefferson Porter received the bake house and shop that stood on the outskirts of Paris where the entrance to the present country club is located. Lucy Porter died between January 20 and April 7, 1846. Her bequest was unusually generous and even more so considering she was giving property to a man of color. From these beginnings, Jeff Porter became an entrepreneurial businessman who amassed a very respectable estate by the time he died in 1885 and his heirs sold off his assets. Jefferson Porter was a successful confectioner and grocer in Paris,KY, he was one of the founding members of Cedar Heights Cemetery in Paris. Land transfers in the Bourbon County Clerk’s office document the real estate that Jeff Porter bought and sold during his lifetime. He sold the lot Lucy Porter left him in 1847 to Margaret Barnett whose husband was a tailor. Although the 1850 census lists him as owning real estate valued at $600, his next land purchase was not filed until 1855 when he bought a house and lot on Main Street that had once been owned by another African American businessman, Carter Lightfoot. He continued to buy and sell property in Paris for the remainder of his life, ultimately owning at least ten lots, virtually all with existing buildings that could be rented out. He had bought another house and lot on the southeast side of the Maysville Turnpike and the east side of Stoner Creek in 1856 and sold it to another man of color, William Brand, in 1859, making a profit of $150 in the resale. In 1860, a few months after he was censused, he purchased a lot on the corner of Main and Walnut Streets from three Masonic Lodges that was probably adjacent to his lot since the deed also conveyed title to an additional three feet where a wall of Porter’s building encroached. All of these properties were in east Paris in an area known as “Cottontown” for the cotton mills located there. However, Porter pursued other commercial land opportunities on Main and High Streets and entered into agreements and leases with prominent white businessmen. In 1865, he made a significant purchase on Old Georgetown Road (now 7th Street) where he built a large, two story brick house that still stands. The next year, he invested in half of a lot in McGinty’s Addition that he subdivided, selling half of the lot to Gabriel Arnold, an African American blacksmith. All of these and other land transactions and business deals were profitable ventures for Jefferson Porter, allowing him to reinvest the proceeds into his house and other improvements. Census takers were required to identify skin color as part of their duties. According to the 1870 directions, census marshals and their assistants were to be “particularly careful reporting the class Mulatto,” as “the word is here generic, and includes quadroons, octaroons, and all persons having any perceptible trace of African blood.” Jeff Porter was consistently identified as mulatto in the census, indicating that his skin color was light. His manumission certificate provided additional information about Jefferson Porter’s appearance. He was a tall man, six feet in height, and had a large scar about the size of a dollar below his left knee. All of the family members except for Katy Harrison were also identified as mulatto; Katy’s skin color was listed as black. Jefferson Porter was working as a grocer in 1870 with $4000 in real estate and $5000 in personal estate. The Porter household also included a 25 year old black farm laborer, William Harlan, and a 30 year old (male) mulatto school teacher, Kelly Thompson. It’s not clear if Jeff Porter was still living in the house on W. 7th Street in 1880. He may have moved so that one of his children could live there. Or he may have allowed Sallie Jones to live there in return for taking care of the household. Jefferson Porter died in 1885 and his heirs sold all of his property and moved elsewhere. A list of his personal property taken after his death reflected his status as a grocer and confectioner, listing such items as show cases, a soda fount and stand, counter scales, candy jars and other household furnishings, valued at $353.62. He owned three lots, including his house, in Paris at the time of his death which his heirs sold. Jefferson Porter was not only a successful confectioner and grocer but he also purchased real estate for resale at a profit. Although he never learned to read or write, he was obviously astute enough to make a comfortable living and amass assets at a time when prosperity eluded many African Americans. The bequest he received from Lucy Porter was instrumental in providing him with resources that helped him to establish his business but his business acumen was key to his continued success and steadily increasing prosperity. References: Bourbon Manumission Book, Bourbon County Clerk’s Office. Bourbon County Deed Book 54, p. 21 (his house on West 7th Street) and other deeds including the property he owned in Claysville.

See earlier entry Jefferson Porter and Jefferson Porter (Chain of Title for 317 W. 7th Street), both are NKAA Database entries.

 
Subjects: Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Freedom
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Porter, Jefferson (Chain of Title for 317 West Seventh Street, Paris, KY)
Start Year : 1817
End Year : 1885
This entry was researched, written and submitted by

Nancy O’Malley, Assistant Director
William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology and
Office of State Archeology
1020A Export Street
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 40506
Ph. 859-257-1944
FAX: 859-323-1968 
 

  • Chain of Title for 317 West Seventh Street, Paris, Kentucky
  • 2008-present  Ron Wilfer, Deed Book 275, p. 429 (6/19/08) *(Martin Marderosian and Ron Wilfur are partners, but Wilfur is the one who actually purchased the house and it is in his name).

from

  • 1957-2008 William Leonard Long family (2 generations)

Robert Wood Watson family

Current property description: Begin at point on south side of 7th St. at corner to Mrs. Dorothy Talbott Foster and outer margin of pavement, along street N59W 94 ft. 11/12 inches to corner of property owned by Heirs of Lunceford Talbott; thence with Talbott line S17 ½ W 228 feet to corner formally owned by John Connell; thence with Connell line S77E 94 feet 11/12 inches to corner of Mrs. Dorothy Foster; thence with Foster N19 ½ E 208 feet to the beginning.

Robert Wood and Mable N. Watson and William Leonard and Louesa W. Long were conveyed the property in 1957 to be held jointly. Robert Watson died and Mable inherited his interest as surviving spouse. Mable died next and left her interest to Louesa Long (Will Book AA, p. 316). Louesa died in 1999 and property went to her husband, William, Sr. William, Sr. died intestate on May 1, 2002, and William, Jr. received the property by Affidavit of Descent (Deed Book 249, p. 447). The deed was transferred on December 2, 2002 by William Long, Jr. and his wife to Jim Lovell, trustee, and Lovell conveyed the property back to the Longs in order to allow the surviving spouse to inherit by survivorship (Deed Book 249, p. 448).

from

  • 1950-1957 S.H. and Amy Beatrice Mattox (Deed Book 135, p. 651)

from

  • 1948-1950 Nolen Allender and wife (Deed Book 129, p. 313) June 29, 1950

from

  • 1932-1948 O.P. Wills family (Deed Book 116, kp. 157) June 27, 1932

O. P. Wills bought the property for $2600 from Nannie S. Ardery’s heirs (Ben B. and Josephine Ardery, Fayette and Lois Ardery, S.S. and Mary Ardery, all of Paris, Ky; Margaret Ardery, George Ardery, unmarried of Colorado, and John Ardery of New York City). Wills died intestate on December 7, 1941, leaving his daughter, Cleo Wills Sumpter, as his sole heir. O.P. Wills lived and died in Winchester, Clark County, so probably never lived in the house.

from

  • 1911-1932 Nannie S. Ardery family (Deed Book 98, p. 88) June 30, 1911
Nannie S. Ardery bought the property from the Heirs of Sophia Overby (Guy Overby, Hazel Overby, Edward and Alma Overby). The property description included the house on a lot that began at Mrs. James Mernaugh’s corner on the southwest margin of 7th Street, running thence N59W 158 feet 11/12 inches to John Connell’s corner; S17 ½ W 228 feet to another corner of Connell; S77E 152 feet 2 inches to a Mernaugh corner; N19 ¼ E 175 feet to the beginning. This deed referenced a Lot no. 1 on a diagram. The Mernaugh house is still standing at 301 W. 7th Street and now houses the Paris Board of Education offices. James Mernaugh served as City Marshall in the 1880s and police chief in the 1890s.

from
  • 1887-1911 Sophia Overby family (Deed Book 70, p. 170) December 1887

Sophia Overby was married to W.T. Overby who received her estate for life via her will (Will Book U, p. 129). Sophia’s will was written on February 28, 1903 and proved in court on August 18, 1903. Following W.T.’s death, the Overby offspring received the remainder of the estate.

from 

  • 1886-1887 J.M. and Annie E. Thomas, W.R. and Carrie Thomas (Deed Book 69, p. 276) September 22, 1886; purchase price was $1660

Deeds include mention of a house and lot from this point forward to the present.

The property description included the house and lot and began at a point in the middle of Old Georgetown Road now Chestnut Street (later 7th Street) at corner to Hanson’s Spring lot at 1, thence N61 ½ W 8/76 poles to the middle of the street at 2; thence N82W 6.24 poles to the middle of the street at 3, corner to Miss McGee; then with the McGree line, leaving a 15 foot passageway between it and Ruth Breckinridge’s lot, S3W 19.92 poles to a stake near a small locust at 4, corner to Luke Connelly; thence with Connelly’s line N73E 4 poles to a stake corner to Ann Scott at 5; thence N7 ¾ E 4.40 poles to Sam Rice’s corner at 6; thence with Sam Rice’s line N79E 8.12 poles to Hanson’s spring lot at 7; thence N10 ½ E 12.64 poles to the beginning.

from 

  • 1865-1886 Jefferson Porter family (Heirs included Beverly and Susie Porter, Jacob M. and Josie Porter, William and Eva Porter, Jefferson, Jr. and Georgia Porter, Adam and Lucy Smoot, Anna Scott, and Sallie Porter)

Jefferson Porter was a free man of color who was manumitted by Lucy Porter’s will in 1846. She specified that he was to get a shop and bake house and the ground on which they stood that was located between her house and the house of Mrs. Sidney Shannon as well as stables and lots adjoining Abram Spears, two carriages, a wagon and all the horses and gear, harness and other equipage, and all provender and grain. In return, Jefferson was to pay all her funeral expenses and help support her daughter, Polly Cook and her children until the children were old enough to support themselves. Lucy Porter died between January 20 and April 7, 1846. From these beginnings, Jeff Porter became an entrepreneurial businessman who amassed a very respectable estate by the time he died in 1885 and his heirs sold off his assets. No house was mentioned in the deeds from the 1865 purchase by Porter back to earlier owners. It appears very likely that Jeff Porter built the house between 1865 and 1870. This date range is supported by several historic maps.

from

  • 1864-1865 James and Bridget Fee (Deed Book 54, p. 21) April 13, 1865; purchase price was $600

The Fees sold the northeast half of a 3-acre lot that fronted on Old Georgetown Road and was bound on the west by John L. Walker, on the east by Charles Talbott’s Heirs and ran to near the center of the Talbott lot between the Old Georgetown dirt road and the Paris-Georgetown Turnpike so as to include 1 ½ acres. Porter was given the use of water from a well on the Fees’ land.  

  • 1859-1864 George W. and Winnifred Williams (Deed Book 53, p. 223) September 8, 1864; purchase price was $695 for 3 acres.

The Fees bought three acres for $695 in 1864 and sold half that amount the following year to Porter for $600, a remarkable markup in price per acre. While one might argue that the increase in price per acre can be explained by a house having been built on the Porter lot by the Fees, another explanation is equally and perhaps more plausible. The increase in price might have been related to Porter’s racial classification. No house was mentioned in the Williams to Fee or the Fee to Porter transactions and the survey language suggests an unimproved lot was sold. It was not uncommon for whites to sell property to people of color at higher than market value. Since whites controlled most of the real estate market, they were in a position to demand higher prices, particularly given the post –Civil War attitudes that influenced where people of color were allowed to live. These attitudes resulted in a much greater degree of residential segregation than had been the case prior to the Civil War.

from

  • ????-1859 Jane C. Berry’s Heirs (Deed Book 50, p. 634) April 12, 1859

Jane C. Berry owned a considerable amount of property in the Paris and Bourbon County area. She sold off various lots in Paris, including one to John Lyle Walker and her heirs sold the rest after her death. Her heirs included Berryman and Elizabeth Hurt, Richard N. and Mary Jane Conner, William N. and Anne Amelia Sudduth, and George Hamilton, all of Bath County. They sold a larger parcel on Old Georgetown Road to the Williams who subdivided it and sold the 3 acres to the Fees. Additional deed research is necessary to determine how Jane C. Berry acquired the property. She may not have been a Bourbon County resident. 

See also the NKAA entries for Jefferson Porter and Jefferson Porter (2nd entry).
Subjects: Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Freedom
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Porter, William M.
Birth Year : 1850
Porter, born in Tennessee, was an undertaker in Lexington, KY. In 1905, he had been in business with J. C. Jackson for about 13 years. Porter came to Lexington from Cincinnati, OH, where at one time he had been the only African American undertaker in the city. Porter spoke during the convention of the National Negro Business League in New York, pointing out that he had been a hackman for 31 years before becoming an undertaker, and that it was not unusual for hackmen to make $12 or $15 per day because "the street cars were not so convenient." By 1920, Porter was again living in Cincinnati, according to the U.S. Federal Census. For more see Wm. M. Porter, "Undertaking," Records of the National Negro Business League, Part 1 Annual Conference Proceedings and Organizational Records, 1900-1919, 6th Annual Convention, New York City, New York, August 16-18, 1905, reel 1, frame 529; and The Negro in Business by B. T. Washington.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration North, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Migration South, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Tennessee / Cincinnati, Ohio / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Postell, Peter, Sr. [Peter Glass]
Birth Year : 1841
Death Year : 1901
Postell (spelled Postel in some sources) was a former slave who was born in South Carolina according to census records. He owned a merchant business in Hopkinsville, KY, and was considered quite wealthy. He was often referred to as "The Richest Negro in the South." His estate was valued at $500,000. During slavery, Postell, had the name Peter Glass. He was brought to Kentucky from North Carolina, and he later escaped and joined the Union Army during the Civil War, serving with the 16th U.S. Colored Infantry, according to his military service record, he was in the brass band. Postell had enlisted in Clarksville, TN, in January of 1864, and North Carolina was listed as his birth state. He returned to Kentucky after the war and opened a grocery store in Hopkinsville and is listed in the 1870 U.S Federal Census as Peter Postell. He was the husband of Pauline Buckner Postell, b.1851 in Christian County, KY, [her father was born in S.C.]. Peter Postell was the son of Mrs. C. Kirkpatrick, who was born around 1819 in South Carolina. According to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, the Postell household consisted of Peter, his wife and four children, his mother, her husband and their son, and a boarder. Peter and Pauline Postell had several more children before Peter died in 1901. For more see Evidences of Progress Among Colored People, by G. F. Richings at the the Documenting the American South website; "A Rich Negro," The Adair County News, 08/21/1901, p. 1; and "Death of a wealthy Negro," New York Times, 05/23/1901, p.1.
Subjects: Businesses, Freedom, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: South Carolina / North Carolina / Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky

Powell, William Jennifer, Sr.
Birth Year : 1899
Death Year : 1942
William J. Powell, Sr. was born William Jennifer in Henderson, KY; he had a sister named Edna Jennifer. Their father died, and their mother moved to Chicago and married Mr. Powell, who adopted the children. After high school, William Powell enrolled at the University of Illinois at Champaign [now University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign] but left in 1917 to join the U.S. Army. At the end of World War I, he returned to college and earned his electrical engineering degree. In 1928 he left Chicago to enroll in the Warren School of Aeronautics in Los Angeles. Powell learned to fly, and his lifetime goal was to encourage African Americans to become pilots. He saw the field as a way for African Americans to get ahead economically by becoming part of the air age and to help break down the racial barriers in public transportation. Powell was the successful owner of Craftsmen of Black Wings, Inc., an aviation company that offered flying lessons. He also made the documentary film, Unemployment, the Negro, and Aviation (1935); published the trade journal Craftsmen Aero-News (1937-1938); and organized all-black air shows with pilots such as Betsy Coleman and Hubert Fauntleroy Julian. Powell wrote an autobiography, Black Wings (1934). He was the husband of Lucylle Powell and the father of William Jr. and Bernadyne Powell. William Powell, Sr. was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. For more see Black Aviator: the story of William J. Powell, a new edition of William J. Powell's 1934 Black Wings; and see William Jennifer Powell in Encyclopedia of African American Business History, by J. E. K. Walker.

See photo image and additional information about William J. Powell, Sr. at the Find A Grave website.
Subjects: Authors, Aviators, Businesses, Engineers, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / Los Angeles, California

Prewitt, Clifton B.
Birth Year : 1826
Prewitt was born a slave in Scott County, KY. He did not attend school. When freed from slavery, he hired himself out, which enabled him to buy a farm. After 18 years of farming, he went into real estate. He bought and sold for speculators and earned a considerable amount of money, enough for him to own more than twenty houses, which he rented to both African Americans and whites. He was the husband of Harriett Prewitt (b.1830 in KY), and in 1880, the family lived in Boston (Scott County),KY, according to the U.S. Federal Census. Clifton Prewitt was the father of Martha Prewitt, who was the wife of W. D. Johnson. Only two of his 14 children were alive in 1897. For more see Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson.
Subjects: Businesses, Freedom, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Boston, Scott County, Kentucky

Price, Julius Elliott, Sr.
Birth Year : 1938
Death Year : 1983
In 1955, Julius E. Price, Sr. was the first African American from Kentucky to be appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point by a Kentucky Congressman. Price was from Louisville, KY, and had just graduated from high school when he received the appointment from Senator Earle C. Clements. Price attended West Point for one year, then he got married and transferred to Wabash College. Price was the second African American student at the school and the second to graduate. He returned to Louisville where he would become president of Mammoth Life Insurance Company; Price's grandfather had been a founding member of the company. For more see "Kentucky Boy, 17, appointed to West Point," Jet, 06/02/1955, p.4 [available at Google Book Search]; and R. Wedgeworth, "Contradictions in American life: the inaugural John W. Evans Lecture" at Wabash College, 10/01/2008 [available online].

See photo image of Julius E. Price, Sr. on p.136 in Ebony, May 1975.
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Reid, Daniel Isaiah
Birth Year : 1879
Death Year : 1950
Daniel I. Reid was a journalist, politician, and school teacher in Lexington, KY. He was one of the first African American news reporters for the Lexington Herald, as early as 1939 and up to his death in 1950, according to Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, Ky) City Directory. Daniel Reid was born in Lexington, the son of Edward and Lizzie Eubank Reid [source: Death Certificate]. In 1905, when the local media reacted to the death of James Piersall with advice on how best to improve Negro society and decrease crime, Daniel Reid advocated that Negro school teachers teach from the Bible so that Negro students could become moral and responsible adults. In 1907, Daniel Reid, an unapologetic Democrat, wrote an editorial praising the good deeds of the city leaders and administrators [Democrats] toward Colored people in Lexington. Reid was a member of the Colored branch of the Democratic Party in Lexington. From 1907-1910, he was principal of the short-lived Forest Hill School in Lexington. He had taught at other schools in Lexington, and would do the same after Forest Hill School was closed in 1910. In 1909, Daniel Reid was at the center of the injunction W. D. Johnson had filed against both Reid and Wade Carter. Johnson, a dedicated Republican, was editor of the Lexington Standard and had leased the newspaper plant from Wade Carter up to May of 1910. Following the election of President Taft, W. D. Johnson was assigned to the General Land Office in Washington, D.C., and on a return visit to Lexington, Johnson found that Wade Carter had taken possession of the newspaper plant and turned it over to Daniel Reid, who was publishing the Lexington Standard as a campaign publication for the Democrats. Fayette Circuit Court granted an injunction against Daniel Reid stopping him from having anything to do with the newspaper plant or the newspaper. During the days that the Lexington Standard was closed due to the injunction, the newspaper was printed by the Lexington Leader. W. D. Johnson was not able to resume the newspaper and was forced to suspend it indefinitely because the building where the paper was printed was slated for other purposes. In 1911, Daniel Reid attempted to revive the Lexington Standard as a Democrat newspaper but was unsuccessful; the Lexington Standard would never be revived. In March of 1912, Reid established The Lexington Weekly News with Edward D. Willis as publisher and A. W. Davis as his business officer. The following year, Reid purchased a meat store at 753 N. Limestone and moved it to the corner of 7th and Mill Streets. Six months later, he attempted to open a night school for Negroes. In October of 1913, a branch of the Negro Business League was formed in Lexington, and Daniel Reid was named the temporary secretary. The Lexington Weekly News had closed, and Reid had established a new newspaper, The Colored Citizen. [There had been two earlier African American newspapers with the same title in 1866, one in Cincinnati and one in Louisville.] Daniel Reid had also served as editor of the Colored column in the Tribune, and he was the printer for the Christian Soldier newspaper and had served as chair of the Sunday School Convention of the Colored Christian Churches. Daniel Reid was the husband of Cora Reid, and the couple had several children. They lived at 705 Dakota Street. Daniel Reid died July 5, 1950 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery. For more, see "People's Views," Lexington Leader, 02/10/1905, p. 7; "Negro teacher," Lexington Leader, 10/21/1907; the injunction articles in the Lexington Leader - 10/25/1909, p. 7 - 10/26/1909, p. 3 - 10/27/1909, p. 9; "Editor Johnson," Lexington Leader, 11/06/1909, p. 2; "Democratic Negro editor," Lexington Leader, 09/01/1911, p. 1; "Colored Notes," Lexington Leader, 06/09/1912, p. 8; "Night school for Colored people," Lexington Leader, 01/22/1913, p. 3; National Negro Business League," Lexington Leader, 10/05/1913, p. 2; "New Colored paper," Lexington Leader, 10/22/1913, p. 11; "Colored paper," Lexington Leader, 10/26/1913, p. 7; and "The Lexington Weekly News...," Freeman, 03/30/1912, p. 2.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Reider, Carrie Nelson
Birth Year : 1869
Death Year : 1937
Carrie Reider was a hair dresser in Cincinnati, OH, who patented a hair tonic in 1917. She was in the hair care business for more than two decades, having started by selling hair care products using the sales agents system developed by Madam C. J. Walker. Carrie Reider later developed her own hair and scalp product for African American women: "Reider's Wonderful Hair Restorer." The product was sold by sales agents in Cincinnati and other cities. Carrie Reider died March 4, 1937 [source: Ohio Death Certificate], and later that year, her husband died in Kentucky. Carrie Reider was born in Danville, KY, the daughter of Horace Sr. and Mary Jane Nelson. The family of eight is listed in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census. Carrie Reider was the wife of John H. Reider (1869-1937), he was also from Kentucky. For more see the entry for Madam J. H. Reider in Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, by W. P. Dabney; Carrie N. Reider under "Patents & trademarks," The Pharmaceutical Era, December 1917, vol. 50, p. 402; and Ser. No. 104,363 (Class 6. Chemicals, medicines, and pharmaceutical preparations) in the Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, vol. 242, p. 980.
Subjects: Businesses, Cosmetologists, Beauty Shops, Hairdressers, Beauty Supplies, Inventors, Migration North
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Rene, Leon T.
Birth Year : 1902
Death Year : 1982
Leon T. Rene, born in Covington, KY, was a bricklayer before becoming a recognized songwriter and record producer. He partnered in the music business with his older brother, Otis J. Rene, Jr., who was born in New Orleans in 1898. They moved to Los Angeles in 1922 and in the 1930s founded the record companies Exclusive Records and Excelsior Records. They became the leading producers of independent recording artists, with recordings by artist such as Nat King Cole, Johnny Otis, and Joe Liggins and His Honeydrippers. The Rene brothers were also the first owners of an independent record company on the West Coast. They also owned publishing companies Leon René Publications and Recordo Music Publishers. In 1957, they formed a new record label, Class Records. One of their best know songs was "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano." For more see "Leon Rene, immortalized swallows of Capistrano," United Press International, 06/08/1982, Inside section, p.3B; and "Leon T. Rene" in Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians, by E. Southern.

See photo image of Leon T. Rene on p.64 in Jet, 05/15/1958.
Subjects: Businesses, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration West, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Los Angeles, California

Rhodes, Bessie M.
Birth Year : 1938
Death Year : 2002
Born in Hodgenville, KY, Bessie M. Rhodes was an assistant professor at Northwestern University and later a school teacher and principal in Chicago, IL. She then worked for Xerox and was transferred to California where she was the company's first African American woman regional controller in charge of the district's finances. Rhodes would return to Illinois to become a school principal and manage the first Home Day Care program in Evanston. She was a consultant to other schools in the U.S. and Mexico. Rhodes was a graduate of Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], where she earned a bachelor's in music, and she earned a master's in music education at Iowa State University. She earned a doctorate in educational administration at Northwestern University. For more see B. W. Rotzoll, "Bessie Rhodes, 64, professor and principal," Chicago Sun-Times, 04/21/2002, News section, p. 57; and S. Chen and M. Lopas, "Bessie M. Rhodes, 64, principal, local teacher," The Daily Northwestern, 04/22/2002, Campus section.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Hodgenville, Larue County, Kentucky / Chicago and Evanston, Illinois / California

Richardson, Saunders, Jr. "Smoke" and Family
Birth Year : 1906
Death Year : 1963
One of the most recognized musicians in Lexington, KY, was Saunders "Smoke" Richardson. He was born in Covington, KY, the son of Julia Mae Thompson Richardson (1883-1934) and Saunders Richardson Sr. (1879-1935). Kentucky has been home to his family for several generations. His mother was from Covington, KY, and his father from Lexington. His parents lived on Price Street in Lexington in 1902; Saunders, Sr. was employed as a porter [source: p. 463, The Lexington City Directory and Rural Postal Delivery Routes for 1902-1903, Volume 1]. His brother Robert Richardson was born in Lexington, September 5, 1902 [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death Registered No. 1149]. By 1904, the family lived in Covington, and Smoke's sister Elza Richardson was born at home on Washington Street, June 19, 1904 [source: Kentucky Certificate of Live Birth Registrars No. 30A]. Two years later, Saunders "Smoke" Richardson, Jr. was also born in Covington. By 1909, the Richardson family was living in Lexington at 323 Race Street, and Saunders, Sr. was a bartender [source: p. 516 in Lexington City Directory, 1909. volume v]. He was also an umpire for the colored baseball games in Lexington [source: "The Lexington Hustlers..." in  "Colored Notes," Leader, 06/01/1913, p. 7, col. 6; and "The Cumminsville, O., ..." in "Colored Notes," Leader, 06/01/1914, p. 5, col. 5]. In 1920, Saunders, Sr. owned a soft drink store, and his son Robert worked with him as a salesman while Elza and Saunders, Jr. attended school [source: U.S. Federal Census]. His wife Julia Richardson may have been part owner of the store: the store name is given as J. Richardson Company, groceries, on p. 648 in The Lexington City Directory, 1923. A couple years later, while Julia and Saunders, Sr. continued with the store, their son Robert became a tailor, daughter Elza a school teacher; and son Saunders, Jr. a musician [source: pp. 661 & 662 in R. L. Polk & Co.'s Lexington (Kentucky) Directory, 1925]. It was during this time that Saunders, Jr. left Kentucky. The following information comes from Saunda C. Richardson Coleman, daughter of Saunders Richardson, Jr., and Carol Mills Richardson. "Around his junior year of high school, Smoke Richardson quit school and started playing music professionally; he played the baritone saxophone. He got the nickname Smoke because he smoked cigarettes all the time. He went to New York City for a brief period and studied under musician Coleman Hawkins. He was back in Lexington by the 1930s. His specialty was big band music, and he was pretty much a local entertainer." In 1928, the Richardson family lived at 301 E. 4th Street, and Julia and Saunders Sr. worked at the store along with Robert, who was a clerk; Elza was still a school teacher, and Saunders, Jr. was still away in New York [source: p. 451 in Polk's Lexington (Kentucky) City Directory, Vol. XIV, 1928]. Saunders, Jr. was back in Kentucky by 1930; he is listed in the city directory as a musician on p. 491 (Polk's Lexington (Kentucky) City Directory, Vol. XV, 1930). He was not listed in the 1931-32 directory with his parents, who had a confectioner business at 146 W. Vine St.; his brother Robert was a cook at Drake Cafeteria and lived at 515 E. 2nd Street; no occupation was listed for Elza, who lived with her parents [source: p. 425 in Polk's Lexington (Kentucky) City Directory, Vol. XVI, 1931-32]. In the previous directory, Saunders, Jr. was listed as a musician and the husband of Louise [source: p. 418, Polk's Lexington City Directory, 1931]. There is no further mention of Louise in the Richardson household in subsequent directories. A few years later, Smoke's family suffered a loss when Julia M. Thompson Richardson died, December 19, 1934; she was the daughter of Robert Thompson from Fayette County and Julia Johnson Thompson from Kenton County [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death Registered No. 1110]. Four months later, Saunders Richardson, Sr. died on April 13, 1935; he was the son of Henry Richardson from Fayette County and Mary E. Smith Richardson from Montgomery County [sources: Obituary in "Colored Notes," Leader, 04/16/1935, p. 10, col. 6-7; and Kentucky Certificate of Death File No. 332]. Both Saunders Richardson, Sr. and Julia Thompson Richardson are buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Lexington. It was during this time of loss that Saunders "Smoke" Richardson, Jr. and His Orchestra began playing for events at the University of Kentucky [source: "Final dance of semester will be held Saturday," The Kentucky Kernel, 08/09/1938, front page, column 4]. The University of Kentucky was a segregated school for white students, but African American bands were hired to entertain at social events. The group also played at Kentucky State College for Negroes (now Kentucky State University) and at high school events in Lexington and surrounding counties. In 1940, Smoke Richardson and his brother Robert were living with their sister Elza at the home place, 301 E. 4th Street; Elza was a maid, Robert was a waiter at a hotel, and Smoke was a musician [source: U.S. Federal Census]. The eldest sibling, Robert Richardson, died from tuberculosis on December 14, 1947 [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death Registered No. 1149]. After his brother's death, Smoke Richardson continued to live at 301 E. 4th Street with his sister Elza [source: p. 552 in Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) City Directory, vol. XXX, 1953]. He provided music for events such as the Zeta Tau Alpha annual houseparty at the University of Kentucky [source: p. 124 of the 1958 Kentuckian]. His music can be heard on an untitled 78 rpm album that has four songs on each side: a copy of the album is at the Isaac Scott Hathaway Museum on Georgetown Street in Lexington, KY. By 1960, Smoke Richardson and His Orchestra had been the house band at Circle H for several years {the establishment had been named the Circle Bar} [source: The Kentucky Kernel, 11/17/1958, p. 11]. Also by 1960, Smoke Richardson was the husband of Carol Mills Richardson; the couple lived at 301 E. 4th Street with Elza Richardson, who was the executive director of the Phyllis Wheatly {Colored} Branch of the Lexington YWCA [source: pp. 556 & 557 in Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY) City Directory, vol. XXXVI, 1960]. Elza Richardson had been a maid at the colored YWCA in 1942 [source: p. 331 in Polk's Lexington City Directory, 1942]; she was the assistant director in 1952 [source: p. 394 in Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) City Directory, vol. XXVIX, 1952]; and she became the executive director in 1956 [source: p. 511 in Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) City Directory, vol. XXXIII, 1956]. Elza Richardson had started at the YWCA as early as 1940 [source: p. 528 in Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) City Directory, vol. XXII, 1940-41]. In 1945, she was a cook at the Lexington Signal Depot [source: p. 317 in Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) City Directory, vol. XXV, 1945], and she was still there in 1947 [source: p. 465 in Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) City Directory, vol. XXVI, 1947]. In 1958, she was an elevator operator at Kaufman Clothers [source: p. 441 in Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) City Directory, vol. XXVII, 1948-49]. Three years later, she was the assistant director at the Phyllis Wheatly {Colored} Branch of the Lexington YWCA. Elza O. Richardson died January 26, 1983 [source: Kentucky Death Index], she outlived her brother Smoke by 20 years: Saunders "Smoke" Richardson, Jr. died September 12, 1963 in Fayette County, KY [source: Kentucky Death Index]. One of his last performances was at the patients' picnic at Eastern State Hospital in June of 1962 [source: Kentucky's First Asylum by A. W. Deese, p. 313]. This entry was suggested by Saunda C. Richardson Coleman.

 

*Robert Thompson (maternal grandfather)

*Julia Johnson Thompson (maternal grandmother)

*Henry Richardson (paternal grandfather)

*Mary E. Smith Richardson (paternal grandmother)

*Saunders Richardson, Sr., 1879-1935 (father)

*Julia Mae Thompson Richardson, 1883-1934 (mother)

*Robert Richardson, 1902-1947 (son)

*Elza Richardson, 1904-1983 (daughter)

*Saunders "Smoke" Richardson, Jr., 1906-1963 (son)

*Saunda Carol Richardson Coleman (daughter of Saunders "Smoke" Richardson, Jr.)

 

  See April 1934 photo image of Smoke Richardson and His Orchestra, photo at Explore UK (Smoke Richardson, top row, center).
Subjects: Baseball, Businesses, Education and Educators, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Robb, Thomas K.
Birth Year : 1862
Death Year : 1932
Born in Frankfort, KY, Thomas K. Robb worked in lumber and was Yard Master at Burnside, Williamstown, and Louisville, all Kentucky communities. In 1896 he was elected Lumber Inspector for the Frankfort Penitentiary by the State Board of Sinking Fund Commissioners, beating out the other 11 competitors, who were all white. He and Lucas B. Willis were partners in an undertaker business in 1897, and Robb became the sole owner of the business in 1900 when Willis moved to Indianapolis [source: "Lucas B. Willis" on p.287 in Who's Who of the Colored Race edited by F. L. Mather]. According to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Robb and several other members of his family lived with his mother and stepfather, Bias Combs, on East Main Street in Frankfort, and after opening his undertaker business, Robb lived on Lewis Street. In 1918, Robb's undertaker business and his livery stable were destroyed by fire, resulting in $5,000 in damages [source: "Kentucky Notes," The National Underwriter, 1918, v.22, p.11]. Robb rebuilt and continued to have a prosperous business. Thomas K. Robb was the son of Kate Kenney Robb Combs and James Robb, and the husband of Mary E. Jackson Robb. Mary and Thomas lived at 300 Clinton Street according to Thomas K. Robb's death certificate, and Thomas Robb's funeral was handled by undertaker George W. Saffell. For more see Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson.
Subjects: Businesses, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Logging, Lumbering, Lumber Business, Lumber Employees
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Burnside, Pulaski County, Kentucky / Williamstown, Grant County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Robinson, Kathy
Kathy Robinson came to Kentucky from St. Louis, Missouri, in 1983; she accompanied her sister, who was in the military and had been transferred to Paducah. In 1988, Robinson wanted to sell music but recognized the need for a community news outlet, so she created The Kentucky Voice. The event marked the return of a newspaper that focused on the African American community in Paducah. Editor and publisher T. A. Lawrence had published such a paper in the 1920s, as had Pleasant A. Nichols in the late 1800s. The Kentucky Voice newspaper is published monthly, and home delivery is $1 per month. Thomas Bell takes care of the graphic design and production, and the newspaper is produced by the Murray Ledger & Times newspaper. Kathy Robinson is also head of the non-profit "The Genesis House: A Place for New Beginnings," an economic development and resource center. Robinson and her husband also own a beauty supply store, which allows them to continue their ministry. For more contact Kathy Robinson at The Kentucky Voice, 1210 Bernheim Street, Paducah, Kentucky 42001, (270) 210-6874, thekentuckyvoice@hotmail.com.
Subjects: Businesses, Cosmetologists, Beauty Shops, Hairdressers, Beauty Supplies, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / St. Louis, Missouri

Ross, James A.
Birth Year : 1867
Death Year : 1949
Born in Columbus, KY, James A. Ross was a lawyer, politician, real estate broker, journalist, editor, and publisher. His family left Kentucky when Ross was a child; he was raised in Cairo, IL, and later moved farther north. Ross was editor and proprietor of The Reformer (Detroit) and publisher of the monthly magazine, Gazetteer and Guide (NY), written for African American Pullman Porters and railroad and hotel employees. He declined the U. S. Consul appointment to Cape Haitien in 1893. Ross was in charge of the Negro exhibit at the 1901 Pan-American Exhibition, held in Buffalo, and he was Vice-President of the National Colored Democratic League Bureau in Chicago in 1912. He served as Race Relations Executive for the Works Progress Administration in Albany, NY. In 1946, Ross was elected president of the New York State Colored Real Estate Brokers Exchange. He was the husband of Cora B. Hawkins Ross (b.1874 in Canada), and the family of six lived on Michigan Street in Buffalo, NY, in 1900, according to the U.S. Federal Census. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915; and "James A. Ross," New York Times, 04/28/1949, p. 31.

See newspaper image of James A. Ross and additional information at the Uncrowned Community Builders website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Colored Fairs & Black Expos, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Lawyers, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Pullman Porters, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Works Progress Administration (WPA) / Work Projects Adminstration (WPA)
Geographic Region: Columbus, Hickman County, Kentucky / Cairo, Illinois / Detroit, Michigan / Buffalo and Albany, New York / Chicago, Illinois

Ross, William H.
Birth Year : 1869
Born in Madisonville, KY, William H. Ross taught school in Muhlenberg County, KY, before he quit teaching in 1887 to go into the grocery store business with his father in Madisonville. The business was known as John [R.] Ross & Son. Ross was also politically active: he stood at the voting polls to make sure every African American in Madisonville voted Republican, which resulted in his being physically attacked by Democrats. He was Assistant Elector of the Second Congressional District in the 1896 presidential campaign. William H. Ross was the husband of Cordie Ross who was a school teacher in Madisonville. For more see Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Voting Rights, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Madisonville, Hopkins County, Kentucky / Muhlenberg County, Kentucky

Roye, John Edward and Nancy [Edward James Roye]
John Roye (d.1829) told others that he had been born a slave in Kentucky. He and his wife Nancy (d. 1840) moved to Newark, OH, where Roye became a prosperous land owner. He was also part owner in a river ferry, and left all that he owned to his son Edward J. Roye, b 1815 in Newark, OH. Edward Roye was a barber and he owned a bathhouse in Terre Haute, IN. He was educated and had been a student at the University of Athens (OH). He left the U.S. for Liberia in 1845 and was a merchant. Roye became one of the richest men in Liberia. He became the Chief Justice and Speaker of the House. He founded the newspaper Liberia Sentinel in 1845, a short-lived venture that lasted about a year. In January 1870 , Edward Roye became the fifth President of Liberia. During his presidency, he was accused of embezzlement and jailed in October 1871. He escaped, and it is believed he drowned sometime in 1872 while swimming to a ship in the Monrovia harbor. For more see "Edward Jenkins Roye," Newark Advocate, 04/22/1984; C. Garcia, "TH barber Edward James Roye became 5th president of Liberia," Tribune Star, 02/24/2007, pp.1&5; and Edward James Roye in The Political and Legislative History of Liberia by C. H. Huberich.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Fathers, Freedom, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration North, Mothers, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Newark, Ohio / Liberia, Africa

Russell, Harvey C., Jr.
Birth Year : 1918
Death Year : 1998
Harvey C. Russell, Jr. was born in Louisville, KY. He was the son of Harvey C. Russell, Sr. and Julia Jones Russell and the brother of Bessie Tucker Russell Stone and Dr. Randa D. Russell. Harvey Russell, Jr. was a graduate of Kentucky State University. He was the first African American commissioned officer in the U. S. Coast Guard. For a short period of time he was employed by an African American soft drink company, the Brown Belle Bottling Company, owned by Arthur G. Gaston. In 1946, the company began selling Joe Louis Punch. The doo-wop group The Ravens recorded a radio spot, "Ain't No Punch Like Joe Louis Punch." Joe Louis invested in the business, but it was not a success. Harvey Russell, Jr. went on to become an outstanding employee at the Pepsi-Cola Company [now PepsiCo] for 33 years (in New York). Beginning as a field representative in 1950, he was named vice president of Corporate Planning for Pepsi-Cola in 1962 and in 1965 became vice president of PepsiCo. In 1968 he was appointed its corporate vice president of Community Affairs. Russell was the first African American to become vice president of a major corporation. He retired from the PepsiCo in 1983. For more see "Harvey C. Russell, Jr., 1918-1998: Longtime PepsiCo Executive was Nation's First African-American VP of Major Corporation," The Atlanta Inquirer, 03/14/1998, p. 3; "Pioneering Businessman, Harvey Russell, Jr. Dies at 79," Jet, 03/16/1998, p.18; and Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines, vol. 23 (1997) & vol. 24 (1998).

See Harvey C. Russell, Jr. photo image on p.18 in Jet, 03/16/1998.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration North, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New York

Saffell, Daisy M. and George William Saffell
In 1912, Daisy Saffell (1875-1918), an "expert" embalmer in Shelbyville, KY, spoke on behalf of the National Negro Funeral Directors' Association during the 13th Annual Convention of the National Negro Business League in Chicago. Saffell estimated that there were 1,100 Colored undertakers and embalmers in the United States. [*Saffell is listed as a mulatto from Shelbyville, TN, in The Mulatto in the United States by E. B. Reuter, p.303* available full view at Google Book Search]. Saffell's death certificate lists Kentucky as both her birth and death location. She was born in Louisville, KY, where she attended school. She attended Roger Williams University and was later a graduate of Fisk University. Daisy Saffell taught for 15 years in Frankfort, KY, then left to become principal of the Lawrenceburg Colored School. She left teaching and enrolled in Clark's College of Embalming in Cincinnati, OH. With the completion of the program, Saffell became the second African American woman who was a licensed embalmer in Kentucky [Minnie Watson was first]. Daisy Saffell, who was an accomplished pianist, was editor of the Kentucky Club Woman, secretary of the District Household of Ruth of Kentucky, secretary of the Colored Funeral Director's Association of Kentucky, and treasurer of the National Association of Colored Funeral Directors. Named in her honor, the Daisy M. Saffell Colored Hospital was located in Martinsville, a community in Shelbyville, KY. Daisy Saffell was the daughter of Lizzie Travis, and in 1897 became the wife of undertaker George William Saffell (1876-1953). Daisy's funeral arrangements were handled by Thomas K. Robb, and Robb's funeral arrangements were handled by George W. Saffell. George was born in Kentucky, the son of Addie Weisger Saffell and George Saffell, according to his death certificate. In 1900, he had been a barber teacher and Daisy was a school teacher, they lived in Frankfort, KY, according to the U.S. Federal Census. By 1910, the couple had moved to Shelbyville, KY, where George was an undertaker and Daisy was a school teacher until she too became an undertaker. George Saffell was owner of the Calvary Cemetery, and he also had an ambulance service; the hearse was used as an ambulance. After Daisy's death, George Saffell married Mildred Stone in 1939. She would become a partner in the business after completing the Melton Mortuary School in Louisville, KY. George Saffell died in 1953. and Mildred continued managing the businesses. For more see "National Negro Funeral Directors' Association," Records of the National Negro Business League, Part 1 Annual Conference Proceedings and Organizational Records, 1900-1919, 13th Annual Convention, Chicago, Illinois, August 21-23, 1912, reel 2, frames 575-576; "Mrs. Daisy Saffell" on p.291 in Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky; "Race progress in Kentucky: broad achievements of Mrs. Daisy M. Saffell," Baltimore Afro-American, 05/22/1913, p.2; and "Saffell Funeral Home" by G. Graham on pp.170-171 in The New History of Shelby County Kentucky.

See photo image of Daisy Saffel[l] at the bottom of the left hand column on p.42 in the Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky, at the NYPL Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Education and Educators, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Women's Groups and Organizations, Negro Business League, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Lawrenceburg, Anderson County, Kentucky

Sanders, Henry L.
Birth Year : 1852
Sanders was born near Lexington, KY. His company was referred to as the "white jacket manufacturer of Indianapolis." Sanders' jacket business began after his wife made white jackets for him to wear for his job at the Grand Hotel in Indianapolis; her work was so admired and requested by other employees that, in 1889, Sanders opened a men's furnishing department. The following year Sanders purchased the first of many sewing machines and employed others to make the merchandise sold in his store. His son Edward, a teenager, became the salesman who traveled to nearby states soliciting orders. Sanders' business employed 40 persons who manufactured jackets and other clothing, including white khaki uniforms. For more see The Negro in Business, by B. T. Washington, pp. 240-242; and Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration North
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana

Simpson, Peter
Birth Year : 1848
Born in Clark County, KY, Simpson attended Berea College and became a teacher. He taught at a number of schools, many of which he helped build with his bare hands. He earned $12 per month. He later owned a grocery store in Winchester, KY, where he was considered a prominent businessman of ample means. He is listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census as a single man, and he was still a grocer. For more see Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators
Geographic Region: Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky / Berea, Madison County, Kentucky / Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky

Slave Trade Between Kentucky and Southern States
Lexington was initially the slave trade center for Kentucky in the 1800s due to many factors that included the demand for slaves in southern states, the large number of slaves in Kentucky and the decreasing profits of slavery, the Kentucky anti-importation law of 1833, and attacks by abolitionists against the African slave trade and slavery in general. As the economic demands for more slaves increased in southern states, the Kentucky and Virginia slave markets responded to the demand in the cotton belt, economically benefiting the states. In 1840, Robert Wickliffe, the largest slave owner in Fayette County, boasted to the Kentucky Legislature that as many as 6,000 slaves per year were being sold to southern states from Kentucky, though the actual number was not known because there were no definitive accounting records for all sales. Prior to the late 1840s, the sale of slaves was a personal business transaction that was not tracked or announced to the public, other than through public auctions, as was the case with the sale of livestock. In 1843, two of the more prominent slave trade firms in Kentucky were the firm of Downing and Hughes and the much larger firm of Griffin and Pullum, both located in Lexington. In 1849, the Kentucky anti-importation law of 1833 was repealed, allowing slaves from other states to be brought into Kentucky and sold. That same year, the Kentucky Legislature adopted a resolution denouncing abolition. It was also around 1849 that two other major changes took place. First, Kentucky newspapers garnered a greater share of the slave trade economy and promoted the trade with an increased number of paid advertisements and hand bills for the sale of slaves or those looking to buy slaves, for the services of slave trade firms and brokers, and for the recapture of runaway and kidnapped slaves. Second, the slave trade in Louisville became a major competitor to the trade in Lexington, and adjoining towns were developing their own slave trade businesses. In 1859, when there were discussions of re-establishing the African slave trade, loud voices of opposition were heard from Kentucky and Virginia. For more see T. D. Clark, "The Slave trade between Kentucky and the Cotton Kingdom," The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, vol. 21, issue 3 (Dec., 1934), pp.331-342; and Lexington's slave dealers and their Southern trade, by J. W. Coleman, Jr. See also Kentucky and slavery: the constitutional convention of 1792 (thesis) by M. Herrick.
Subjects: Businesses, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Migration South, Slave Trade (U.S.)
Geographic Region: Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky / Virginia

Smith, Elijah Strong
Smith, born in Henderson, KY, was a graduate of State University [later named Simmons College] in Kentucky. He moved to Alabama and was employed at the Union Mutual Aid Association in Mobile; the insurance company was started by C. F. Johnson, one of the wealthiest African American men in Alabama. Union Mutual Aid Association was incorporated in 1898, and had over $170,000 in income in 1913. Elijah Smith excelled within the company and after a short time was a district manager. He would soon become the district manager of the Tuscaloosa area. Smith was also president of the Negro Business Men's League in Tuscaloosa, a delegate to the national league in 1912, and secretary of the state league in 1916. He also held a number of positions within the Tuscaloosa Baptist Church and was president of the District Baptist Young People's Union and an advisory member of the Federation of Colored Women of Alabama. For more see "Elijah Strong Smith" in the Afro-American Encyclopedia; and for more on C. F. Johnson and the Union Mutual Aid Association see vol. 2, p. 208 of The Story of the Negro, by B. T. Washington [available full-text at Google Book Search]; and pp. 1134-1135 in the Annual Report of the Insurance Commissioner of the State of Alabama for year ending December 31, 1913 [available full-text at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Religion & Church Work, Migration South, Fraternal Organizations, Women's Groups and Organizations, Negro Business League, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky / Mobile and Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Smith, Holloway
Birth Year : 1896
Death Year : 1970
Kentucky native Holloway Smith was the second African American football player at Iowa State. The first African American player was Jack Trice, who died in 1923 from injuries received during a football game; Iowa State football stadium is named in his honor. Holloway Smith arrived at Iowa State three years after Jack Trice died. Smith had played one year of football at Michigan State and the following year he became a right tackle on the Iowa team while working toward his bachelor's degree in agricultural education. Smith was an all-state lineman; he stood 6'4" and weighed around 220 pounds. He dominated on the football field, but that was not enough to surpass the Missouri Valley Conference agreement with southern opponents to not use colored players in their competitions. The black press referred to it as the "gentlemen's agreement" [source: F. M. Davis, "World of sports," Capital Plaindealer, 12/13/1936, p. 7; note Smith's name is misspelled as "Hollingsworth"]. In 1926 that agreement kept Holloway Smith out of three games. In 1927, he was only barred from the Missouri game, in spite of which, Smith had a good season and was named 3rd Team All-Missouri Conference. After graduating from Iowa State in 1928, Holloway Smith was a school teacher in Marianna, AR. He was a boarder at the home of Henry and Anna Baker, according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. In 1935, he had lived in Louisville, KY, according to the 1940 U.S. Federal Census. By 1936, Holloway Smith was still a teacher when the African American newspapers proclaimed him the last Negro football player in the Big Six Conference with Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Nebraska. Holloway Smith had moved on from his football days. While in Pine Bluff, AR in 1940, he was a teacher and he was also a National Youth Administration (NYA) worker, according to the 1940 U.S. Federal Census, and he would become the state NYA supervisor. Holloway, his wife, and his sister Bettie Smith, lived at 2020 Reeker Street in Pine Bluff. Holloway Smith left Arkansas in the 1940s. He served as a temporary member of the YMCA U.S.O. Club on 3rd Street in Pittsburg, CA, in 1945, according to the USO-Staff Conference minutes dated June 11, 1945. At the U.S.O., Holloway was standing-in for Maurice Hardeman, who was attending an orientation course in New York. [The USO-Staff Conference minutes are within the National Jewish Welfare Board War Correspondence. National Jewish Welfare Board, Army-Navy Division Records, I-180, at the American Jewish Historical Society.] By 1951, Holloway Smith was living in Monterey, California, according to Polk's Monterey Pacific Grove City Directory, 1951, p. 430; he operated Ella's Southern Kitchen Restaurant. He is last listed as a cook in the 1957 Monterey city directory. Holloway Smith last moved to Reno, Nevada, where he died in January of 1970, according to the U.S. Social Security Death Index. Holloway Smith was born in Spottsville, KY, November 19, 1896, according to his WWI Draft Registration Card completed in Henderson, KY. He was the son of James and Harriett Smith, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. He had been the husband of Eunice Smith who was born around 1902 in Jackson, Mississippi, according to the 1940 U.S. Federal Census. For more information see Black History Month: Holloway Smith; After Trice, an Iowa State website; and "Holloway Smith" in Nevada State Journal, 01/22/1970, p.39.

 

 

See photo image of Holloway Smith at Iowa State website.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Football, Migration North, Migration West, Military & Veterans, National Youth Administration (NYA)
Geographic Region: Spottsville, Henderson County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan / Ames, Iowa / Marianna and Pine Bluff, Arkansas / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Pittsburg and Monterey, California / Reno, Nevada

Smith, James E. "J.E."
Birth Year : 1883
Death Year : 1969
Smith was elected State Representative for the 42nd District, serving 1964-1968, and was a delegate to the 1964 Democratic Presidential Convention. He was president of the National Negro Insurance Association and co-founder of the Domestic Life and Accident Insurance Company. Smith graduated from Jacksonian College in Jackson, Michigan. He was the husband of Vera Smith and father of Charlotte McGill. The family lived in Louisville, KY. For more see the Smith/McGill Family Papers, 1879-1987 at the University of Louisville; and contact the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission.
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Legislators, Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Smith, James T. "Jimmy"
Birth Year : 1913
Death Year : 1999
James T. Smith, born in Maceo, KY, was a national track athlete in Indiana and was considered by some to be the best black long distance runner in the United States. Smith attended high school in Evanston, IL, and in 1934, became a student at Indiana University. He was not an outstanding track athlete in high school, but he excelled in college. James T. Smith was a member of the four mile relay team and set the national collegiate record by running his leg in 4 minutes and 14 seconds. In 1936, he set the mile record at the Indiana State Intercollegiate Track Meet with a time of 4 minutes and 11 seconds; it was the Indiana collegiate record for 29 years. Smith also won the National Junior A. A. U. Cross Country Championship his freshman year. He was the co-captain of the Indiana University Cross Country Team and was a member of the All-American Cross Country Team. He was selected for the Big Ten All-Star Track Team. In 1938, he broke the Big Ten record for the two mile run. James T. Smith's college track coach was E. C. Hayes. The Achievement Commission of Kappa Alpha Psi awarded James T. Smith the Gold Key for outstanding achievement by an undergraduate member of the fraternity. Smith put himself through college by working at various jobs on and off campus. He was a business major and graduate from Indiana University in 1938. He became a public accountant and was owner of Smith's Big 10 Grocery. His brother Lannie Smith assisted him with his grocery business. James T. Smith was the first president of the black organization the Indy Trade Association. In 1982, he graduated from Christian Theological Seminary and became an associate pastor at the Light of the World Christian Church. In 1998, James T. Smith graduate from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH, with a doctorate of ministry. For more see C. B. Ashanin, "Thankful for the life of Rev. James T. Smith," Indianapolis Star, 12/25/1999, p.A22; J. Cebula, "Ministry born of little sister's suffering," Indianapolis Star, 12/12/1998, p.D8; "Rev. James T. Smith to be honored," Indianapolis Recorder, 05/04/1985, p.10; R. Woods, "Grocers love for people makes successful business," Indianapolis Recorder, 01/15/1966, p.11; see 'Now there is Jimmy Smith...' in the article "World of Sports" by Frank M. Davis in the Plaindealer [Kansas], 05/07/1937, p.3; see 'The Achievement Commission...' in the article "Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity discusses national problems at conclave," Negro Star, 01/15/1937, p.3; "Smith looms out as a formidable candidate for Indiana University track," Indianapolis Recorder, 11/24/1934, p.2; and G. J. Fleming, "After Jimmy graduates, what?," The Crisis, August 1938, v.45, no.8, pp.264 & 277.



*Maceo, Kentucky was settled after the Civil War by former slaves, according to author Robert M. Rennick. The land was provided by the freedmen's former owners. One of the earlier names of the community was Powers Station in honor of Colonel J. D. Powers of Owensboro. In 1897, the community was renamed Maceo for Capt. Alonzo Maceo who was a Cuban mulatto killed during the Cuban revolt against Spain. Source: Kentucky Place Names by R. M. Rennick, p.183.

Subjects: Businesses, Accountants, Bookkeepers, Certified Public Accountants, Stenographers, Communities, Migration North, Religion & Church Work, Track & Field
Geographic Region: Maceo, Daviess County, Kentucky / Evanston, Illinois / Indianapolis, Indiana

Smith, Joshua I.
Birth Year : 1941
Smith was born in Garrard County, KY. In 1978 he established an information technology firm, Maxima Corporation, that had over $62 million in revenues. It was one of the largest African American owned businesses. In 1989, Smith was named head of a 14 member commission by President George Bush to assist in devising ways for improving business development. Smith is presently chairman and managing partner of The Coaching Group. He is a graduate of Central State University. For more see African American Biographies: profiles of 558 current men and women, by W. L. Hawkins; and About Us: Joshua Smith a Datawind website.
Subjects: Businesses, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents
Geographic Region: Garrard County, Kentucky / Wilberforce, Ohio

Smith-Hyatt, Mary E.
Born in Estill County, KY, Smith-Hyatt practiced medicine in Indianapolis, IN, specializing in women's and children's diseases. She was also a dressmaker and milliner as well as a voice and piano teacher. She wrote medical articles published in newspapers and journals and published a book of poetry and a book on health. Smith-Hyatt composed the words and music of My Little Hoosier Song and Consecration. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37.
Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Medical Field, Health Care, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Poets
Geographic Region: Estill County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana

Sneed, Stephen Taylor, "S. T."
Birth Year : 1861
Death Year : 1940
Stephen T. Sneed had served five terms as deputy sheriff in Cincinnati, OH, in 1918 [source: "Captain S. T. Sneed...," The Crisis, vol. 17, issue 1 (November 1918), p. 245]. He was over the 18th Ward, Precinct K. Sneed was also a barber who owned his own shop. He was owner of Fraternal Regalia Company, which was established in 1905. In most sources, Stephen T. Sneed is referred to as S. T. Sneed. In 1891, Sneed had moved from Covington, KY, to 106 George Street in Cincinnati, OH [source: "Republican clubs," The Freeman, 04/18/1891, p. 1]. Sneed served as Brigadier General in organizing a regiment of the Uniform Rank of the Ohio Knights of Pythias [source: "The Lodge news," Cleveland Gazette, 08/01/1891, p. 1]. He was appointed a deputy sheriff in 1911 for the city of Cincinnati. Five years later, Sneed polled enough votes to ensure the first colored judge of elections in his precinct, Walter Johnson [source: "Cincinnati, O., News," The Freeman, 11/11/1916, p. 1]. Sneed was a member of several fraternal organizations, including the United Brothers of Friendship, and he was a Past Grand Chancellor and Supreme Representative of the Knights of Pythias. R. T. Sneed was the commander of the World's Champion Drill Team, Palestine Company B, Uniform Rank, Knights of Pythias. The team was undefeated when Sneed retired in 1911, and he would join the team when requested over the next several years for performances in various states. S. T. Sneed was born in Pendleton County, KY, the son of Anna Hitch Sneed (1852-1905) and Southey Sneed (1834-1889). S. T. Sneed and his first wife, Mary E. Sneed (b. 1864 in KY), were the parents of three girls: Bessie (1882-1882), Ada (1885-1885), and Carrie (1886-1908). In 1907, S. T. Sneed married Mary Patterson (b. 1878 in KY). Stephen T. Sneed died in Cincinnati on January 7, 1940 [source: Ohio Department of Health Death Index, p. 1695]. For more see Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, by W. P. Dabney. Cemetery records for Amy, Southy, Bessie [Snead], Ada, and Carrie Sneed are in "Linden Grove Cemetery Records (.pdf), 1868-1898" within the Northern Kentucky Genealogy Database-geNKY at the Kenton County Public Library website.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Migration North, Corrections and Police, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Pendleton County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Spencer, Moses
Death Year : 1877
Spencer was listed as a free person in William's Lexington [Kentucky] Directory, City Guide, and Business Mirror, Volume I, 1859-60, compiled by C. S. Williams, Lexington, [Kentucky]: Hitchcock & Searles, 1859. At one time, he was Lexington's most successful African American businessman. Spencer was a secondhand furniture dealer whose business was located on Main Street. He owned a slave. After the Civil War, he sold the furniture business and opened a new store on Short and Market Streets. For more see Lexington, Heart of the Bluegrass, by J. D. Wright.
Subjects: Businesses, Freedom, Free African American Slave Owners
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Spradling, Washington, Sr.
Birth Year : 1805
Death Year : 1868
Spradling was the son of an overseer, William Spradling, and Maria Dennis, a slave who belonged to Isaac Miller. Maria and her children were freed after the death of William Spradling in 1814. Washington Spradling moved to Louisville, KY, and opened a barbershop in 1825. He also purchased real estate and by 1860 was one of the richest African Americans in Louisville. He was the father of William Spradling, born 1827. For more see The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber; "Death of a Colored millionaire in Louisville," Chicago Tribune, 05/22/1868; and History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, by W. H. Gibson, Sr.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Freedom
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Spradling, William Wallace
Birth Year : 1866
Death Year : 1940
Born in Louisville, KY, Spradling owned more real estate in Louisville than any other African American. He was Vice President of the Louisville Cemetery Association and Director of the Falls City Realty Co. He served as vice president of First Standard Bank, the first African American bank in Kentucky. Spradling was a delegate to the convention that nominated Republican Mayor Grinstead in 1907. He was the son of Washington and Henrietta Richardson Spradling, and the husband of Mary E. Wilson Spradling (1876-1964), who was born in KY. The couple had lived at 501 Rose Lane Street, according to William Spradling's death certificate. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915.
Subjects: Businesses, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Steed, Maggie M.
Birth Year : 1877
In 1909 Steed, a widow, built the first hotel in Paducah, KY, owned and operated by and for African Americans: The Hotel Metropolitan at 724 Jackson Street. The list of guests who stayed at the hotel include Louis Armstrong, Chick Webb, and Ike and Tina Turner. In 2007, the Metropolitan Hotel Museum Project received $50,000 in state funds to complete the renovation of the building that will also be used as a bed and breakfast. Maggie Steed was the widow of Henry Steed who was born in Tennessee. She too was born in Tennessee and came to Paducah, KY in 1893. For more see Hotel Metropolitan: Paducah, Kentucky; and "Mrs. Maggie M. Steed" on p.211 in Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky. See also The Development of an African American Museum: anthropology and museum practices at work (dissertation) by M. D. Hernandez
 
 
Subjects: Businesses, Bed & Breakfast, Hotels, Inns
Geographic Region: Tennessee / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Stevenson, William H.
Stevenson was the founder and president of the Stevenson-Gregory Co-operative Fire Insurance Company in Lexington, KY. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1927.
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Stewart, Charles
Birth Year : 1869
Charles Stewart was born in Frankfort, KY, the son of Henry and Harriet Stewart. Charles Stewart was a newspaper correspondent and press agent for the National Baptist Convention. He was also president and manager of Stewart's General Press Bureau in Chicago. He had previously worked for the Courier-Journal (Louisville) and the Chicago Inter Ocean. He attended State University [later Simmons University] and a business school in Chicago, and he graduated from Alabama A & M College [now Alabama A & M University]. He was a member of the National Negro Press Association. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915; and the Booker T. Washington Papers at the University of Illinois Press website, vol. 5 (1899-1900), p. 53.
Subjects: Businesses, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Stewart, Logan H.
Birth Year : 1879
Born in Union County, KY, Stewart became a real estate operator and builder. He led the real estate movement in Evansville, Indiana. African Americans owned less than $10,000 in real estate in 1900; that increased to more than $100,000 in 1926. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915; Who's Who in Colored America, 1927; and We Ask Only a Fair Trial: a history of the Black community of Evansville, by D. E. Bigham.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration North, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Union County, Kentucky / Evansville, Indiana

Stewart, Loretta Reeves
Birth Year : 1941
Loretta Reeves Stewart is an exceptional student and educator. She attended the segregated schools in Paducah, beginning at Woodland, a one room school, then graduating at the age of 15 from Lincoln High School. In later years, Stewart was inducted into the Lincoln High School Hall of Fame [the school closed in the 1960s]. Her picture now hangs in the Paducah Tilghman High School. Stewart completed her bachelor's degree at Kentucky State University at the age of 19, and began teaching at Murray Douglass High School, in Murray, KY. She was teaching at Lincoln High School when she earned her master's degree from Murray State University in 1964. She earned her Rank I at the University of Louisville in 1975. Stewart taught school for 37 years before retiring in 1998. Her last post was that of assistant principal at Central High School in Louisville, KY. She had also been employed at the Black Affairs Program at the University of Louisville and taught part-time in the School of Business. In 1983, she was selected by the Zonta Club of Louisville to serve as a delegate to the International Convention held in Sydney, Australia. Zonta International is a global organization of executives and professionals who work together to advance the status of women worldwide. [The Zonta Club of Louisville was chartered in 1960.] Stewart became the owner of Madeline's Flowers and Things, and maintained the business from 1990-2005. During the same period, she was also senior program specialist with The Lincoln Foundation. She left that position in 2007 and became a specialist with the "School to Career" program at the Jefferson County Public Schools. Stewart was named one of the 100 Outstanding Alumni of Kentucky State University. She has also been named a Courier-Journal Forum Fellow. She has served on the board of the Louisville Ballet, Broadway Series, and the Heritage Weekends Committee. Loretta Reeves Stewart is the daughter of George and Birdie Reeves, the wife of retired teacher George Stewart, and sister to Bobbie Reeves Wiggins. This information was taken, with permission, from the Loretta Reeves Stewart resume and biography.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Still, Sina Williams
Birth Year : 1874
Sina Williams Still was a beauty culturist in Cincinnati, OH. She was born in Midway, KY, the daughter of Henry and Mary Williams. Sina Still completed a course in beauty culture in Louisville, KY, and moved to Cincinnati around 1900. She established her business around 1916 using the Poro System developed by Annie Turnbo Malone. (During the Civil War, Malone's parents left Kentucky and settled in Illinois. See Turnbo Family entry in the NKAA Database.) The Poro System was developed in Malone's Poro College in St. Louis, MO, where women were trained to become independent saleswomen of beauty and haircare products [source: Marcus Garvey Life and Lessons, edited by R. A. Hill and B. Bair, p. 406]. Sina Still was president of the Poro Club in Cincinnati; the club was founded and organized by Mrs. Callie Parrish in 1919. Sina Still was also a member of the Household of Ruth and a manager of the Orphan Asylum in Cincinnati. She was the wife of Louis (or Lewis) Still (b. 1870 in AL); the couple married in 1896. Sina Still had two daughters from her previous marriage. For more on Sina Still see her entry in Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, by W. P. Dabney. For more about the Poro Club in Cincinnati see Three Negro Pioneers in Beauty Culture, by G. L. Porter. For more information about the Poro System see E. M. Phillips, "Ms. Annie Malone's Poro: addressing whiteness and dressing black-bodied women," Transforming Anthropology, vol. 11, issue 2, pp. 4-17.
Subjects: Businesses, Cosmetologists, Beauty Shops, Hairdressers, Beauty Supplies, Migration North, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Stonestreet, Frederick M., Sr.
Birth Year : 1858
Death Year : 1931
F. M. Stonestreet, Sr. was born in Kentucky, the son of Lucinda "Lucy" Stonestreet (1837-1897), a widow who was also born in KY. The family moved to Missouri, then on to Kansas in 1862. Fred Stonestreet and his family members may have been slaves in Kentucky. Their last destination was Topeka, KS, where Fred, his mother, and grandmother, Matilda Miller (b.1800 in KY), all lived on Madison Street. Lucy Stonestreet took in washing and ironing to support the family, according to the Topeka City Directory for 1868-69. In 1880, Fred Stonestreet, Sr. worked at the statehouse in Topeka, and in 1883, he was reassigned as a messenger. In 1902, he was the marshal of the city courts in Topeka. Prior to becoming a marshal, he was the first African American fireman in Topeka. He had also won the 1894 election to become a constable, was re-elected in 1896, and when the city court was developed, he was appointed a marshal by Kansas Governor Stanley, and won the election to become the first elected marshal of Topeka. In 1892, Stonestreet was listed on p.26 of the Eight Biennial Report of the Board of Directors of the Kansas State Historical Society for his donation of a book [online at Google Books]. Fred Stonestreet was the husband of Mary Frances "Fannie" Stonestreet (1862-1909). In 1885, the couple had a one year old son, Fred Jr., and shared their home with Fred Sr.'s mother and great-grandmother, according to the Kansas State Census. The family was also listed in the 1895 Kansas State Census, Matilda Miller had died, and Fred and Fannie had two more children. In 1897, Fred's mother, Lucy Stonestreet, died. By 1900, Fred and Fannie had four children, and they would lose their youngest child, Clarence (b.1899), to illness. In 1903, Fred was co-owner of an undertaking business with G. W. Hamilton: "Stonestreet & Hamilton, Successors to J. M. Knight. Undertakers and Funeral Directors" [source: ad in Plaindealer, 10/02/1903, p.3]. Fannie and Fred had their last child, Bernice, in 1905. Fannie died in 1909. According to the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Fred was still an undertaker and was assisted by his sons Fred, Jr. (b.1882) and Wilbur (b.1889). He had a new business partner and the business was named "Stonestreet and Gaines, Undertakers and Embalmers [source: ad in Plaindealer, 03/04/1910, p.8]. Fred Jr. died in 1912. Fred Sr. and Wilbur became the owners of the Stonestreet and Sons funeral business. In 1920, Fred and Wilbur were still in business, and Fred and his youngest daughter, Bernice, were living with Fred's oldest daughter Daisy and her family on Woodward Avenue. Bernice, who was a sickly child, died in 1922. Wilbur died in 1930. Fred Stonestreet outlived all but one of his children, Daisy Stonestreet Carper (1893-1985). Fred Stonestreet was a leading politician and businessman in Topeka, he was a land owner, and was active in the community. He belonged to several organizations, including serving as secretary of the Mt. Moriah No. 5 A. F. and A. M., in 1894 he was elected high priest of Lincoln Chapter No.2 R.A.M., and he was president of the Benjamin Banneker Club. In 1892, he was a delegate to the Kansas Republican Convention that was held in Hutchinson. For more see "A card on the Stonestreet matter," Topeka Tribune, 07/15/1880, p.1; "Topeka whispers," Western Recorder, 06/21/1883, p.3; "After a long and painful illness, Mrs. Lucinda Stonestreet...," Enterprise, 02/27/1897, p.3; "Clarence Stonestreet ...," Plaindealer, 08/02/1901, p.3; "F. M. Stonestreet..." Plaindealer, 12/19/1902, p.7; "Gone but not forgotten, Mrs. Mary Frances Stonestreet...," Plaindealer, 05/14/1909, p.5; "The Funeral of Fred M. Stonestreet, Jr...," The Topeka Daily Capital, 01/15/1912; "Obituary, Bernice Zerelda Stonestreet," Plaindealer, 04/21/1922, p.2; "Wilbur F. Stonestreet local undertaker dead," Plaindealer, 05/30/1930, p.1; "Local news," Topeka Call, 05/08/1892, p.1; 8th item in the column "Capital city news," Leavenworth Herald, 05/19/1894, p.2; and "Mr. Fred M. Stonestreet passed away...," Plaindealer, 02/06/1931, p.1.
Subjects: Businesses, Firefighters, Migration West, Corrections and Police, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Missouri / Topeka, Kansas

Stradford, John the Baptist "J. B."
Birth Year : 1861
Death Year : 1935
Stradford was born a slave in Versailles, KY, the son of Julius Caesar Stradford. The J. B. Stradford family moved to Tulsa, OK, in 1899. J. B. was a graduate of Oberlin College and Indiana Law School. He and his wife, Augusta, had lived in several cities, including Lawrenceburg, KY, before settling in Tulsa. J. B. became the richest African American in Tulsa via his rooming house, rental properties, and the largest African American-owned hotel in the United States. He initiated the development of Greenwood, a prosperous neighborhood referred to as "the Black Wall Street." By 1920 the political, racial, and economic times were on a downward turn in Tulsa. On May 30, 1921, a story circulated that an African American man had assaulted a white woman, and there were rumors of a lynching. The next day Whites and African Americans armed themselves and met outside the Tulsa County Courthouse. A scuffle led to an exchange of gunfire and the beginning of the infamous Tulsa Race Riot. All 35 blocks of Greenwood were burnt to the ground. It was one of the worst riots in the nation's history. Twenty African American men, including J. B. Stradford, were indicted for starting the riot. Stradford jumped bail and left Tulsa. He later became a successful lawyer in Chicago. In 1996, the charges were officially dropped against Stradford. For more see "Oklahoma Clears Black in Deadly 1921 Race Riot," New York Times, 10/26/1996, p. 8; and Death in a Promised Land: the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, by S. Ellsworth.


   See Tulsa Race Riot Photographs at the University of Tulsa Department of Special Collections and University Archives.
Subjects: Businesses, Communities, Lawyers, Migration West, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky
Geographic Region: Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky / Tulsa, Oklahoma / Lawrenceburg, Anderson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Straws, David
Birth Year : 1799
Death Year : 1872
Straws, born in Kentucky, purchased his freedom from slavery and was listed as a freeman in the 1840 U.S. Federal Census. (He was also listed in the 1830 U.S. Census). Straws moved to Louisville, KY, where he opened a barbershop. He also had real estate holdings and provided funds for the establishment of the Fourth St. Colored Methodist Church. He was the husband of May Straws. Author W. H. Gibson, Sr. gives Straws' death date as 1868. For more see The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber; and History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, by W. H. Gibson, Sr.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Sudduth, Horace
Birth Year : 1888
Death Year : 1957
Horace Sudduth was born in Covington, KY, the son of Charles and Mattie Sudduth. He was president of the Walnut Hills Enterprise Company, president of the Industrial Loan and Savings Company, president and organizer of the Creative Realty Company, and owner of the Sudduth Real Estate Agency. The Horace Sudduth Award, for outstanding achievements in land and real estate, is named in his honor. For more see Who's Who in Colored American, 1933-37; Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines, vol. 1: Jan 1946-July 1949; and S. Middleton, "We must not fail!: Horace Sudduth, Queen City entrepreneur," Queen City Heritage, vol. 49, issue 2 (1991), pp. 3-20.

See photo image of Horace Sudduth on p.23 in Jet, 11/19/1953.
Subjects: Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Businesses, Migration North, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Suter Brothers, Barbers
Start Year : 1871
End Year : 1908
Andrew and Richard Suter were born near Midway, KY, two of at least eight children born to Charles and Winnie Suter. Prior to becoming a businessman, Andrew Suter (b. 1847) served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He returned to Midway, KY, and in 1870 married Kentucky native Ellen P. Clark (1857-1918 [source: Still Voices Yet Speak]). Also in 1870, Andrew Suter had an account with the Freedman's Bank in Lexington [source: Freedman's Bank Records], and the following year he became a barber in Lexington, KY, staying in business for 37 years. For a few of those years, Andrew and his brother, Richard Suter (b. 1842), were in business together, "S., R. & A.," and their shop was located in the basement at 2 S. Upper Street [source: Prather's Lexington City Directory 1875 and 1876]. By 1878, Andrew Suter and William Anderson were in business together as "Suter and Anderson"; the barber shop was located on the corner of Upper and Main Streets [source: R. C. Hellrigle and Co.'s Lexington City Directory 1877-78]. Richard Suter, who was also a chiropodist (foot doctor), was doing business on his own and in 1882 was a barber in the Phoenix Hotel [source: William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82]. "Suter and Anderson" continued to thrive within the barbering business. Andrew Suter had a Colored servant, Amy Ferguson, who was employed at his home [source: William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82]. By 1898, "Suter and Anderson" had several other employees: William Anderson Jr., Clarence Suter (Andrew's son), Henry Dupee, and Churchill Johnson. During the same period, Richard Suter and McCagih Robinson had a barbering business, "Suter and Robinson," in the basement of a building at the corner of Main and Limestone Streets [source: Emerson and Dark's Lexington Directory 1898-9]. In addition to being a barber, Andrew Suter was a member of the Colored First Baptist Church in Lexington. He was re-elected treasurer of the church in June of 1904, at which time he had been treasurer for 27 years. Suter was dedicated to his duties, and in August of 1904, when the church split, he refused to recognize the departing members' vote to make him their treasurer. Andrew Suter was also a mason,  treasurer of Mt. Carmel Chapter No. 3 R A M, and treasurer of Bethany Comandery No. 2 [source: Emerson and Dark's Lexington Directory 1898-9]. Andrew, Richard, and Clarence B. Suter are all buried in African Cemetery No. 2 according to their death certificates, and Ellen Suter is also buried there, according to the book Still Voices Yet Speak. Andrew Suter died of heart disease on July 29, 1908. He and his family had lived at 916 Lexington Avenue. His son, Clarence B. Suter, died of Bright's Disease on January 26, 1904, and his brother, Richard Suter, died of pneumonia on April 10, 1913. Andrew Suter's daughter, Katie Suter Miller, was born in 1877 and died May 28, 1929, and was also buried in African Cemetery No. 2. For more see "Andrew Suter," Lexington Leader, 07/29/1908, p. 7; and "Andrew Suter's position," Daily Leader, 08/14/1904. For more about the Suter family members buried in African Cemetery No. 2, see Still Voices Yet Speak, by Y. Giles.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Military & Veterans, Religion & Church Work, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Talbert, Horace
Birth Year : 1853
Death Year : 1910
Horace Talbert, an AME minister, was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Jane E. Dory Talbert and William Talbert. He was the husband of Sarah F. Black, born 1859 in Washington, D. C., and they had 14 children. Talbert was assigned to a number of churches in Kentucky and in other states. He edited and managed the African Watchman; served as secretary and financial officer of Wilberforce University, beginning in 1897; and was part owner of Talbert Specialty Company, a mail order house. He was the author of The Sons of Allen [available online at Documenting the American South]. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915The Autobiography of William Sanders Scarborough: an American journey from slavery to scholarship by W. S. Scarborough, p. 361; and Rev. Horace Talbert in The Encyclopaedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church compiled by Bishop R. R. Wright.

  See photo image of Horace Talbert at the "Documenting the American South" website.
Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Wilberforce, Ohio

Tandy, Henry A.
Birth Year : 1853
Death Year : 1918
Tandy was a contractor and builder from Lexington, KY. Along with his business partner, Albert Byrd, he did the brick work on the Lexington courthouse in 1898. At that time the courthouse was one of the largest in the U.S. At the turn of the century, Tandy was thought to have been the richest African American in Kentucky. He was the father of Vertner Tandy and the husband of Emma Brice Tandy, born 1855 in KY. The Tandy family lived at 190 West Main Street, next door to the Maj. B. G. Thomas/Margaret Pryor home. Henry Tandy was born in Estill County, KY. The names of his parents were listed as unknown at the time of his death. He was buried in Greenwood Cemetry in Lexington, KY, according to his death certificate. For more see Evidences of Progress Among Colored People, by G. F. Richings, at the Documenting the American South website; Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson; "Henry Tandy," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/16/2005, p. C1; Tandy displays in the Isaac Scott Hathaway Museum; and N.[H.] A. Tandy, "Contracting and building," Records of the National Negro Business League, Part 1 Annual Conference Proceedings and Organizational Records, 1900-1919, 3rd Annual Convention, Richmond, Virginia, August 25-27, 1902, reel 1, frames 256-257.
Subjects: Businesses, Construction, Contractors, Builders, Fathers, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Estill County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Taylor, Bartlett
Birth Year : 1815
Taylor, a slave born in Henderson County, KY, was the son of a slave woman and her owner, Jonathan Taylor. Both of Bartlett Taylor's parents had come to Kentucky from Virginia. When he was a small child, the sheriff withdrew a portion of the slaves as payment toward Jonathan Taylor's financial debts. Included in the roundup were Bartlett Taylor's mother, her baby, and her four oldest sons. Jonathan Taylor left Henderson County and settled in LaGrange, KY. He had brought with him his remaining slaves, which included Bartlett and his sisters, all of whom were eventually sold as payment for more of Jonathan Taylor's debts. Bartlett hired himself out in Louisville, KY, with the intention of purchasing his freedom. He was sold, but he managed to get his emancipation papers with the promise of payment; Bartlett finalized the payment in 1840. He learned to read and write and also became a butcher. Bartlett owned a retail and wholesale business that packaged and shipped meat and traded and shipped livestock. He became a fairly wealthy man who owned several homes and lots on East Market Street in Louisville. He was also an African Methodist Episcopal [AME] Church minister who contributed financially toward the founding and building of churches. Bartlett Taylor was considered the church builder of the Kentucky AME Conference. In 1872, he built the largest AME Church in the state in Bowling Green, KY. In 1881, while a pastor in Shelbyville, KY, he negotiated with the city for a permit, then paid for a school building for African American children and the employment of teachers. Bartlett Taylor also served as treasurer of Wilberforce University beginning in 1864 and was a trustee for sixteen years. Bartlett Taylor and his wife, Marian [Mary] Taylor (b. 1826 in Indiana) are listed as living in Louisville in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. For more see the Bartlett Taylor entry in the following sources: Afro-American Encyclopedia; History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, by W. H. Gibson; and Men of Mark, by W. J. Simmons.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Henderson County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky

Taylor, J. H.
Taylor came to Louisville, KY, in 1865; he was the first African American mortician in Louisville. His undertaking business was one of the leading three for African Americans; the other two were owned by The Fox Brothers and Minnie and William Watson. Taylor's business was later merged with R. C. Fox's [The Fox Brothers]. For more see A History of Blacks in Kentucky from Slavery to Segregation, 1760-1891, by M. B. Lucas; and History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, by W. H. Gibson, Sr.
Subjects: Businesses, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Taylor, James T. "Big Jim" [Harrods Creek, Kentucky]
Birth Year : 1885
Death Year : 1965
Taylor developed the Harrods Creek community in Jefferson County, KY. He purchased the land in 1919 and sold lots to African Americans. The Jacob School was built in 1916, named for Jefferson Jacob, a former slave. Students came from Harrods Creek and nearby African American communities such as The Neck and Happy Hollow, both of which no longer exist. The school and the community are recognized with a Kentucky Historical Marker [#2038]. James Taylor, raised by his grandmother, grew up to become a farmer, a school bus driver, a road and bridge builder, and president of the James T. Taylor Real Estate Co. Wilson Lovett was vice president of the company, Joseph Ray, Sr. secretary, and Abram L. Simpson manager. For more see B. Pike, “Looking back: subdivision may be named after early developer,” Courier-Journal, 08/28/2002, Neighborhoods section, p. 1N; and D. R. Smith, “Cover Story: 40059,” The Lane Report, September 2006.
Subjects: Businesses, Communities, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Harrods Creek, Jefferson County, Kentucky / The Neck and Happy Hollow, Jefferson County, Kentucky [no longer exist]

Taylor, William A.
Taylor was born in Lexington, KY. Starting with $75, he built his grocery store into one of the most successful in Lexington. He purchased the building that had been his homestead as a boy during slavery and also owned other real estate. For more see Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson.
Subjects: Businesses, Freedom
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Terrell, William H.
Birth Year : 1876
Death Year : 1946
William Terrell was born in Hopkinsville, KY, the son of Samuel S. and Martha Smooth Terrell. William Terrell lived in Chicago where he formed a real estate partnership, Murry & Terrell, and later the partnership of Anderson & Terrell. He was president of both the A-T Varnish Remover Co. and the Standard Literary Society. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915.
Subjects: Businesses, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Tevis, Elizabeth C. H.
Birth Year : 1802
Death Year : 1880
Tevis was born a slave in Jefferson County, KY. She was freed from slavery in 1833 and inherited land. She married but had a prenuptial agreement to protect the ownership of her property. Tevis was one of the few African Americans to own slaves in Jefferson County; she hired out children acquired from the slave market. Tevis was the first resident in the community known as Petersburg in Jefferson County. For more see The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber.
Subjects: Businesses, Freedom, Inheritance, Free African American Slave Owners
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Thompson, Jackie
Birth Year : 1926
Death Year : 2007
Jackie Thompson was born in Lexington, KY, the son of Leonard Thompson. He was the oldest working horseshoer in Lexington, KY. Thompson shod the winners of five Kentucky Derbys: Dark Star, Proud Clarion, Dust Commander, Gato Del Sol, and Swale. Thompson was an excellent farrier, highly sought by those in the racehorse industry. In 1982, he was inducted into the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame at Churchill Downs and in 1989 was recognized by the International Equine Podiatry Association. For more see, M. Wall, "Legendary farrier shod 5 Derby winners - Jackie Thompson 1926-2007," Lexington Herald-Leader, 09/06/2007, City&Region section, p.C1.

See photo image of Jackie Thompson at the Kentucky Educational Television (KET) website.
Subjects: Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Tinsley, George W., Sr.
Birth Year : 1946
George W. Tinsley, Sr. was born in Louisville, KY. The 6'5" forward played high school ball at Male High School in Louisville and his college ball from 1965-1969 at Kentucky Wesleyan College (KWC), where he was a member of the championship teams in 1966, 1968, and 1969. Tinsley was the 4th all-time leading scorer for KWC with 2,014 points as well as the all-time leading rebounder with 1,115 rebounds. The Kentucky Colonels, an ABA team, drafted Tinsley in 1969. He played for the ABA's Miami Floridians during the 1970-1971 season. Overall, he played in 133 games and scored 120 points. In 1976, Tinsley began his business career with Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and became the owner of five restaurants. He was the founder and president of the KFC Minority Franchise Association. He has been the owner of several other successful businesses and has received a number of business awards and recognition. In 1991, Tinsley was appointed to the KWC Board of Trustees. In 2005, George Tinsley was inducted into the Kentucky Wesleyan College Alumni Hall of Fame. He is the husband of Seretha S. Tinsley. For more see M. Story, "Panthers' tradition transcends individuals," Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/17/1991, Special section, p.16; George Tinsley at databaseBasketball.com; and the George William Tinsley, Sr. website.


Subjects: Basketball, Businesses
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky / Miami, Florida

Tinsley, Henry Clay
Birth Year : 1869
Tinsley was born in London, KY, the son of Preston and Caroline Severe Tinsley. In 1880 the family was still living in Laurel County, KY, according to the U.S. Census, and Henry, at the age of 10, was listed as a laborer. Later in life, he would become a teacher, physician, and surgeon. Tinsley completed his undergraduate work at Berea College in 1900; he had started grammar school at the age of 20 and completed the B.L. degree at the age of 31. He received his M.D. from Meharry Medical College in 1903, then started his practice in Georgetown, KY. Tinsley was also vice-president of Georgetown Mercantile Stock Company. He would leave Georgetown, and by 1920 he was widowed and practicing medicine in St. Louis, MO, according to the Federal Census. Tinsley was still living in St. Louis in 1930. For more see the Henry Clay Tinsley entry in Who's Who of the Colored Race, by F. L. Mather [available full-text at Google Book Search]; and A Utopian Experiment in Kentucky, by R. D. Sears.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration West
Geographic Region: London, Laurel County, Kentucky / Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky / St. Louis, Missouri

Tinsley, Seretha S.
Birth Year : 1949
Seretha S. Tinsley, a Louisville, KY, native, was operations manager of WLOU and station manager at WAOK in Atlanta in the late 1970s. She and her husband, George T. Tinsley, own the KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) franchise in Tampa Bay, Florida. In appreciation of her civic and community work, Seretha Tinsley received the 2000 Bankers Cup Award for Outstanding Woman of the Year. She is a 1971 graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan College, and was a teacher in Louisville School system. For more see Black Enterprise, vol. 32, issue 2 (2001), p. 137; and the TFC Family website.

See the photo image of Seretha Tinsley and bio at TFC Family website.
Subjects: Businesses, Civic Leaders
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Atlanta, Georgia / Tampa Bay, Florida

Tipton, Manuel
Birth Year : 1885
Death Year : 1950
Manuel Tipton was well respected in Montgomery County, KY. He is said to have been the first person who learned to strip grass seed with a hand stripper and later with a stripper pulled by horses, according to Montgomery County Kentucky Bicentennial, 1774-1974, by S. A. Harris. Manuel Tipton had a rock breaking business; the rocks were used for the building of fences and bridges. In 1905, he helped build Howards Mill Pike [source: "Howards Mill Pike," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 09/06/1905, p. 5]. He also helped lay the gas lines in Mt. Sterling, Midway, and Frankfort, KY. Manuel Tipton worked for the gas company, according to his Certificate of Death. He also served as an election officer in Smithville, KY, during the 1921 primary election [source: "Election officers named Saturday," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 07/19/1921, p. 1]. Tipton Avenue and the housing projects, Manuel Tipton Court, both in Mt. Sterling, KY, were named in his honor. Manuel Tipton was the son of Buford and Lutie Jones Tipton. He was the husband of Nora Lee Johnson Tipton; the family lived in Smithville in Montgomery County, according the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. Manuel Tipton was buried in Olive Hill Cemetery, according to his death certificate. For more information, see "Montgomery County Pioneers - The Tipton Family" on pp. 20-21 of Montgomery County Kentucky Bicentennial, 1774-1974, by S. A. Harris.
Subjects: Businesses, Housing Authority, The Projects, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Mount Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky

Tolley, Florence B. W.
Birth Year : 1897
Death Year : 1969
Tolley was one of 18 children born to Fannie and Will Jackson of Avon, KY. She was married to Edd Brown and they lived in his home town of Clintonville, KY, prior to moving to Lexington, where Tolley later owned The Try Me Beauty Shop (opened in 1944) and the Williams Nursing Home (opened in 1950), both on Greenwood Avenue. Tolley was a graduate of the segregated Lexington Beauty College; she had been hired as a maid at the school and was allowed to study for her diploma in beauty culture, which she received in 1944. She was also instrumental in helping to bring gas to homes on the west side of Lexington by offering to sell the Central Kentucky Natural Gas Company a piece of her land for the regulation station; at that time, west side was outside the city limits. For a while, Tolley raised her family alone, having divorced her first husband, Edd Brown, and later married Rev. Jesse Williams, who passed away. She then married Rev. Robert Tolley. She continued her nursing home businesses and in 1965 built a new facility at 465 Greenwood Avenue. Williams Nursing Home was the first such facility for African Americans in Lexington. Tolley also helped raise funds for the Colored Orphan Home in Lexington. She wrote poetry, plays, and songs. Several of her songs were recorded: If I Had My Way and I am Packing Up to Move, sung by Ben Tate; Lord I Wonder, sung by LaVern Lattimore; and I Can Trust Him and My Savior, sung by Helen Williams. For more see Only Believe: biography of Florence Jackson Brown Williams Tolley, by E. B. S. Bosley.
Subjects: Businesses, Civic Leaders, Cosmetologists, Beauty Shops, Hairdressers, Beauty Supplies, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky
Geographic Region: Avon, Fayette County, Kentucky / Clintonville, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

True Reformers
Start Year : 1872
End Year : 1930
The True Reformers began in 1872 as an affiliated organization for African Americans who were not allowed to become members of the Independent Order of Good Templars in Kentucky. The initiative is said to have come from Colonel John J. Hickman (who was white), from Lexington, KY. Hickman is remembered for his temperance advocacy and leadership in the United States, and the Good Templar lodges he organized in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and the Isle of Man. Hickman did not oversee the True Reformers in Kentucky and other southern states, these were independent lodges managed by African Americans, and the lodges limped along during the first decade, several folded. In 1881, William Washington Browne, a former slave born in Virginia, was elected head of the Grand Fountain of the True Reformers in Virginia, and he is credited for the revival of the True Reformers. He developed the Virginia organization into a successful fraternal insurance society that owned businesses, including a bank and the newspaper The Reformer. The structure of the Virginia organization was applied to True Reformers in northern cities and in cities located in upper southern states. The True Reformers continued to exist until the early 1930s, around the beginning of the Great Depression. William Browne's success with the True Reformers was due to his ability to redirect the True Reformers away from temperance and prohibition, to more practical issues that African Americans faced. The organization was a trend setter for the operation of other African American fraternal organizations and it impacted the insurance business by redefining premium terms and benefits, and how they were handled by a national organization. True Reformers promoted self-help and introduced African Americans in 20 states to business, management, and entrepreneur practices. The True Reformers Hall in Louisville, KY, was located at 822 W. Walnut Street, according to the 1909 city directory. For more see D. T. Beito, "To advance the "Practice of Thrift and Economy": fraternal societies and social capital, 1890-1920," Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Spring 1999, vol.29, issue 4, pp.585-612; see the entry "Grand United Order of the True Reformers" in Organizing Black America by N. Mjagkij; The Black Lodge in White America by D. M. Fahey; and Twenty-Five Years History of the Grand Fountain of the United Order of True Reformers, 1881-1905 by W. P. Burrell and D. E. Johnson. For more on Colonel John J. Hickman, see his entry in History of Boone County, Missouri by the St. Louis Western Historical Company, 1882, pp.881-883 [available at Google Book Search]
Subjects: Alcohol, Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Virginia / United States

Waits, Ernest J., Sr. "Ernie"
Birth Year : 1920
Death Year : 2004
Ernie Waits, Sr. is often referred to as the first African American DJ [disc jockey] in both Kentucky and Ohio [source: E. S. Murrain, "Payola and the Pied Pipers," Tone, 09/01/1960, p. 11]. In Kentucky, he was a DJ at WNOP in Newport, KY [source: see "Gab Bag" in the column "Vox Jox," Billboard, 04/21/1951, pp. 28 & 33]. In Cincinnati, he was a DJ at WZIP [source: "Chicago Chatter," Billboard, 05/28/1949, p. 40]. Waits was also among the first African American broadcasters in both radio and television in Cincinnati, Ohio, his home town. He was a singer and musician, as well as a civil rights leader who helped start organized labor. He was an international representative for the United Auto Workers, integrated the Democrat Party of Hamilton County, Ohio, and was the first African American in Cincinnati to become a New York Stock Exchange registered representative. He owned a bowling alley and other businesses and helped establish the Black Expo in Cincinnati. Ernie Waits was born in Georgia and grew up in Cincinnati. He was the son of Jesse and Mozell Harper Waits. He was a veteran of World War II. For more see Ernie Waits, Sr. in the video Road to Equality at CETConnect.org; Ernie Waits in the H. Wilkinson article, "Berry showed them the way," Cincinnati Enquirer, 10/19/2000 [online at enquirer.com]; Ernie Waits in the Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920-1960, by L. F. Sies; Who's Who in Black Cincinnati 2003-2004 Edition, M. C. Sunny and R. Love; and R. Goodman, "Civil Rights fighter Ernest Waits dies," Cincinnati Enquirer, 10/22/2004 [online at enquirer.com].

  See photo image of Ernie Waits Sr. within article about Theodore M. Berry at the Cincinnati Enquirer website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Military & Veterans, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Radio, Television, Union Organizations
Geographic Region: Georgia / Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio / Kentucky

Walker, Edward
Birth Year : 1801
Edward Walker was one of the wealthiest African Americans in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. He had been a slave, born on the Hayden Nelson Plantation in Kenton County, KY, and was owned by Nelson's son Thomas. When Walker's uncle and family ran away to Canada, Walker feared that he would be sold; Thomas Nelson's son had taught Walker to read and write, and Walker was a whiz at math. His quick intelligence had caused his master to keep a watchful eye on Walker. When Walker's family members escaped to Canada, it was perceived as a mistrust of Walker and he was offered to a slave trader. The sale was voided, but fearing that he could be sold at any time, in 1858, Walker escaped along with his brother, sister-in-law, and their baby. They had been assisted by Underground Railroad conductors from Covington to Cincinnati to Canada. In Windsor, Walker earned his wealth as the owner of a grocery store, a hotel, and a farm. By 1891, Edward Walker had turned his grocery over to his son William Edward Walker, who had completed a business course in Detroit, MI. The Freeman, an African American newspaper from Indianapolis, IN, was sold at the store. For more see "Smart Edward Walker" entry in Slave Testimony by J. W. Blassingame; and "Sentenced to prison. Happenings of Canadian Afro-Americans," Freeman, 04/18/1891, p.5.
Subjects: Businesses, Freedom, Migration North, Underground Railroad: Conductors, Escapes, Organizations, Research
Geographic Region: Kenton County, Kentucky / Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Whiteside, Birdie Mary Lee
Birth Year : 1911
Death Year : 2004
Whiteside was born in Hopkinsville, KY, the daughter of Augusta Radford Jordan and Arkley Whiteside. She founded the Guiding Light Christian Service in 1953 in Indianapolis, designed to take recorded religious sermons to the sick and shut-in. Six years later the service was incorporated. Whiteside moved to Indianapolis in 1950. She was a graduate of Simmons University (KY). The Birdie L. Whiteside Collection is housed at the Indiana Historical Society. For more see Guide to African-American History Materials in Manuscript Collections at the Indiana Historical Society.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration North, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana

Whitney, Francis E.
Birth Year : 1916
Death Year : 2006
Whitney was born in Hopkinsville, KY. In 1948 he began operating the F. E. Whitney Real Estate Agency in Hopkinsville. He co-organized and was secretary/treasurer of the Durretts Avenue Realty Co., Inc., which developed and built the Gladys-Gail Village, the first subdivision developed by African Americans in Hopkinsville. The subdivision established a new trend in housing for African Americans. Whitney was appointed to the Interim Council of the City of Hopkinsville by Governor Wetherby in 1953, serving for 21 years as a city councilman. For more see Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers of Kentucky, by J. B. Horton.
Subjects: Businesses, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Appointments by Kentucky Governors, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky

Wilkinson, Crystal
Birth Year : 1962
Crystal Wilkinson was born in Ohio and reared in Indian Creek, KY. She chaired the Creative Writing Department for the Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts, taught creative writing at the University of Kentucky, served as a writer-in-residence at Eastern Kentucky University, and was a member of the faculty of Spalding University's MFA Program. In 2007, she was a writer in residence at Morehead State University. Wilkinson is author of Blackberries, Blackberries; Water Street; and a host of works in anthologies and serial publications. Her works have received a number of awards and recognitions, including the 2002 Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature. Crystal Wilkinson and her husband are owners of the Wild Fig Book Store in Lexington, KY. For more see Crystal Wilkinson, Poet, on Connections with Renee Shaw, video #422 [available online]. 

  See photo image of Crystal Wilkinson and additional information at the Baggot Asher Bode blog site.

Access Interview Read about the Crystal Wilkinson oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records are in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Education and Educators, Poets
Geographic Region: Ohio / Indian Creek, Whitley County, Kentucky

Williams, Charley "Banjo Dick"
Birth Year : 1849
Born in Kentucky, Charley Williams moved to Arizona in 1871 as a cook and housekeeper for the L. A. Smith family, according to author Alton Hornsby in Black America: a state-by-state historical encyclopedia, v.1, p.41. Charley Williams was known as Banjo Dick, and in the 1880s, he had a mining company named the Banjo Dick Mine, located near Tucson, AZ. According to author Hornsby, the mine was thought to the be first African American owned and operated mining operation in Arizona. The mine lasted but a few years, then Charley Williams moved to Nogales, AZ, where he shined shoes and played the banjo for extra money. "His biggest engagement was that of playing at La Vennis Park, the exclusive rendezvous of the Tucson aristocrats." For more see In Steps of Esteban: Tucson's African American Heritage at the University of Arizona Library.

See photo image of Charley Williams at the University of Arizona website.
Subjects: Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Migration West, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Tucson, Arizona

Williams, Lucille L. Brown
Birth Year : 1897
Death Year : 1982
Born in Ghent, KY, Williams moved to Indiana, where she worked as a day nursery director, owned a grocery store, and was a social services director. She was also very active in social organizations, including being the founding member of the Lucille Lucas Williams Federated Club in 1952. The Lucille L. Williams Collection is housed at the Indiana Historical Society. For more see the "Lucille L. Williams" entry in the Guide to African-American History Materials in Manuscript Collections at the Indiana Historical Society.
Subjects: Businesses, Civic Leaders, Social Workers, Women's Groups and Organizations, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Ghent, Carroll County, Kentucky / Indiana

Young, Herman A.
Birth Year : 1929
Young was born in Memphis, TN. He was a professor of natural sciences at the University of Louisville. Prior to that, Young had been head of the science department at Lincoln Institute. He had also been the first African American owner and president of an electronic manufacturing plant in Kentucky, Tubetek, Inc. He had been a chemical engineer with Dumont Labs and Thomas Electronics, Inc. Young and his wife, Barbara, co-authored Scientists in the Black Perspective. For more see Who's Who Among Black Americans, 1st-10th ed.
Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Education and Educators, Engineers
Geographic Region: Memphis, Tennessee / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

 

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